Abandoned Water Wells

The state’s well construction code defines an “abandoned well” as a well which:

• has had its use permanently discontinued

• is in such disrepair that continued use for obtaining groundwater is impractical

• has been left uncompleted

• is a threat to groundwater resources

• is or may be a health or safety hazard

Abandoned wells can be found almost anywhere: on farms, in suburban areas or, in industrial areas.  Those abadoned wells marked by windmills or old hand pumps are easy to locate.  However many are hidden beneath weeds or are buried below the ground surface. Here are some examples of abandoned wells that must be plugged:

• Wells that are not operational

• Wells that are disconnected and taken out of service at the time of connection to municipal service

• Wells that are inoperable or abandoned that are not properly plugged and sealed

Abandoned wells must be properly plugged.  Prior to plugging, any piping or equipment inside the well must be removed.  Plugging materials and plugging methods must be  in accordance with the Well Construction Code.  After the plugging of a well, a written well abandonment report must be submitted to the local health department within 60 days. A well drilling contractor or the local health department can provide guidance regarding whether a well is abandoned and must be plugged.