One of the most dangerous things that can exist on a rural property is an improperly abandoned well. If you've recently purchased or inherited an old farm, locating and properly filling in any unused wells is an important task you need to do. Learn more about why it needs to be done and how to do it.
Liability And Contamination
Old, abandoned, and unused wells are a liability. Frequently covered over and forgotten, they pose a risk to children, visitors to the property, and any animals that are on the property. The coverings on the well could eventually deteriorate and give way, allowing someone or something to fall through.
Old wells also pose a major concern over groundwater contamination. As the well deteriorates and rusts, contamination from the well can leach into the water table and threaten the safety and usability of other wells in the area.
As the owner of the property, you are responsible by law for the proper maintenance of any wells on the property, including verifying their current condition even if they aren't in use. If the wells don't have the potential for future use, they have to be filled and sealed properly. In most states, in order to completely absolve your liability, you have to file a report with the state explaining how and when the well was filled.
Location and Sealing
In order to make sure that there are no unused, old wells on your property, you can only rely partially on information from old records and prior owners. Keep in mind, the longer the property has been in use, the more likely that records are lost and old wells have been forgotten.
An expert in well systems can do a visual inspection of the property to look for signs of old wells such as pipes, depressions in the ground, old hand pumps, and the foundations of long-gone well houses. If an old well is located and it appears to be sealed, the well should be inspected to determine if it was properly filled and sealed with the right combination of materials, such as grout, concrete, and bentonite.
Once any unsealed wells have been located, the casing and any pipes, pumps, and other metal can be removed from the well and the well can be sealed according to the laws in your state. Keep in mind that state laws can be very specific about what steps have to be followed when decommissioning a well, so this isn't a job that you can likely accomplish on your own.
For water system maintenance, contact a company such as Golden Gate Well Drilling & Water Conditioning.