Well Closure ProceduresAbandoned and deteriorated wells have the potential of channeling contaminated water straight into our aquifer. Older wells may be particularly vulnerable since they often have been inadequately sealed or may have a deteriorated well casing. Additionally, improperly plugged wells may also cause aquifer contamination.
Whether from well casing failure, an improper well closure, or other issues, a well may be in need of repair, and/or a temporary (well capping) or permanent (well plugging) closure procedure. Both well capping and plugging options require a permit from the EAA before any work can begin.
Temporary well capping is most often done when a well is currently not in use, but will be placed into use in the future. The process involves determining the condition of the well by performing a geophysical and video log of the well, and if required, repairing the well, securing the well head so that nothing may enter the well, and ensuring no water withdrawals can be made from the well while it is capped. While not as effective as plugging, well capping can greatly reduce the potential for contamination. The fee for a well capping permit is $125 ($25 application fee and $100 administrative fee). The permit is valid for five years. After that time period, the well capping permit must be renewed or the well must be placed back into service.
Permanent well plugging closes the well, putting it out of use permanently. This process generally involves filling the well with gravel up to a specified depth then filling the remaining space, up to the surface, with cement. If the well’s annular space is not already sealed, the process often involves perforating the existing casing in order to allow the cement to reach the annular space. The cement filled casing is then cut off five feet below the surface and covered with either dirt or, if the tract is being developed, paved over and/or buried beneath a structure. Once a well is properly plugged, the risk of contamination to the Aquifer is greatly diminished, perhaps even non-existent. The fee for a well plugging permit is $25 per well. The permit has a 180-day time limit for the plugging to be properly completed by a licensed well contractor. Once the well is plugged, the well owner is free from any further well-related responsibility.
If you have any questions, please call the EAA Aquifer Protection Team at (210) 222-2204 or (800) 292-1047.
To find a complete list of licensed Water Well Drillers and Installers please visit the TDLR Website (http://www.license.state.tx.us/LicenseSearch/).