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What to Do with Abandoned Well Sites

All well owners know they need to take care of their wells. But what if you have an abandoned well on your property?

Finding those wells is not always easy. Some abandoned wells are quite obvious, while others are not. While surveying your property, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Pipes sticking out of the ground
  • Smaller buildings that might at one point have been used to house wells
  • Depressions in the ground
  • Abandoned windmills
  • Concrete pits or vaults

In addition, you can check out old maps, property plans or property title documents to see if there have ever been any wells on your property. These types of documents are usually available in your city or county offices. You can also ask neighbors if they know of any old wells on your land, or search under additions to an old home that could have covered up an abandoned well. Water well system professionals are also capable of checking records or analyzing your property to find or learn more about abandoned wells in your area or on your specific piece of land.

Why exactly is this so important? Plugging a well is important for safety purposes and groundwater protection in California. If an abandoned well is not properly plugged, it could create an easy pathway for contaminants to get into the groundwater you use for your household water supply. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to find and cap these abandoned wells.

Plugging an abandoned well

Once you have located an abandoned well on your property, you should get to work on plugging it up immediately. You should not attempt to do this job yourself—only a water well system professional has the skills and tools necessary to properly plug it up.

The process generally involves three steps:

  • Removing any and all material from the well that could prevent it from being properly plugged
  • Disinfecting the well entirely
  • Plugging the well with a special grout that prevents surface water from getting into the borehole and prevents water from other levels in the subsurface from mixing with each other

How much can you expect to pay for this service? This primarily depends on the depth and diameter of the well in question, the geology and topography of the area, how accessible the well is for the water well professional to bring in the necessary equipment, the age and style of the well and the condition the well is currently in.

There are millions of abandoned wells all across the United States, and plenty more abandoned boreholes that had previously been used for purposes other than drinking water. If you have a lot of land in a rural area, there’s a chance you’ve got at least one on your property, and it could very well be disguised by brush, grass or collapsed buildings. To avoid polluting aquifers and ensure reliable groundwater protection in California, make sure you contact a water well professional and a groundwater surveyor to get the issue addressed.

From single family home sites to large agricultural wells, call National Groundwater Surveyor at 800-980-7429.

We also provide Groundwater Surveys in Nevada and Oregon!

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