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Minimum allowed flow rate for a well?

Brandon Whitmore

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I had a Realtor contact me today wanting more info. as to what flow is legally required for a house. I told him that I was not aware of any law requiring a certain flow for a well, but that I'd look into it further. I thought lenders put forth the flow rate requirements (3 or 5gpm based on memory)

Question 1:

Is there a law requring a certain flow of water from a well?

All I have found so far is that sellers are required to test the water quality prior to a sale.


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For the three counties here in Mid-Michigan we have a point of sale law (regulation) All wells and septic systems have to meet particular standards at the time of sale. Most health departments and county regulations spec a min of three gpm for existing wells. All new wells must have seven gpm.

This all gets complicated by region. As far as I know most local govt trump codes.

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County (and maybe some state) health departments usually specify the flow rate required for new private wells.

The IRC specifies flow rates in gpm for each fixture (there's a table). The flow rate can vary significantly at the various fixtures in the home. Checking the flow rate at a tub spout will give a significantly different result than at a lav with aerator (with maybe even a water-saver insert). To properly test the flow rate of a well pump, it needs to be measured prior to any devices or fixtures. Homeowners often assume a flow rate is synonymous with well yield or recovery.

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Thanks Les,

When min. flow rates can't be met, do they allow a cistern to be installed in lieu of drilling a new well?

no cisterns allowed in michigan.

I think the real issue is the requirements are all over the board and extremely regional. We cover a large area and find a variety of rules/laws.

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