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Talent well driller fined for missing reports

For the second time in two years, a Talent well driller has been finedfor failing to submit timely well-drilling reports.

The state Department of Water Resources has fined Darryl Baker $3,650for late filing of 34 start cards, and 11 well reports. In 1995,Baker was fined $7,600 for failing to file 155 start cards and 149 wellreports.

I hate paperwork, Baker said Wednesday, when asked why thereports weren't submitted.

State law requires drillers to file a start card (officially known asa notice of beginning construction) before beginning a well.Well inspectors use the start cards to determine where wells are being drilledso they can inspect wells for proper construction.

Drillers must file well reports that describe each well's performance.The reports include information such as the types of soil the well penetrated,the depth at which water was found and the amount of water produced.

Banks, real estate agents and property buyers use the reports to determinea land parcel's water supply, said Kris rd, an enforcement officer inthe water resources department.

rd said Baker's failure to file the documents surfaced when someonecould not find a well report for a well Baker had drilled. Further checkingturned up more missing documents.

These cases only get forwarded to Salem for formal enforcementafter it's been determined there have been numerous violations, rdsaid.

The water resources department also required Baker to submit a weeklywork schedule to state officials for a year. rd said Baker must reporthis work plans to the state watermaster in whose district he is working.

rd said Baker has cooperated with state water officials. He admittedto us he'd messed up, said he was sorry, and that it wouldn't happen again.He worked with us to resolve the problem and he's paid the fines.

rd said there are nearly 800 licensed well drillers working in Oregonand 29 in Jackson County. The water resources department fined just threedrillers for violations in 1996, and three in 1995.

Baker said he recognizes the state's right to regulate drillers, butin 1996 he joined a court challenge to Jackson County's groundwater ordinance.

The 1995 law requires local reporting of groundwater volume and quality,sets standards for testing, and requires county permits for wells to bedrilled or deepened.

Baker and two Phoenix farmers, Richard and Elizabeth Fujas, filed a civilsuit that contends the county has no right to regulate groundwater. Bakersaid a court date has been set for December.