Plug and abandonment of wells typically takes place on deteriorated or abandoned water wells which can include windmill wells, irrigation wells, groundwater monitoring/remediation wells, domestic wells and rig supply wells. Construction or production of these wells have often deteriorated over time or the wells are no longer needed. When a well is either no longer needed or used, preparations should be made for the plug and abandonment process. Leaving a well open or simply covered allows for potential contamination and the risk of personal safety to humans or animals.
Why Do We Need to Plug and Abandon Wells?
Groundwater is one of the most valuable natural resources. An abandoned well is a direct conduit to the subsurface aquifers below. One abandoned well could contaminate groundwater for miles. In the state of Texas alone, more than 1.5 million water wells have been drilled since 1900. Of this 1.5 million, more than 500,000 have been plugged and abandoned. With that said, Texas has over 1.1 million wells open to groundwater aquifers. To maintain water quality of the aquifers and to protect people or animals from falling in the well, abandonment procedures have been established and differ widely depending on many variables including but not limited to:
- State and local regulations
- Well depth and diameter
- Screen and casing composition
- Physical well location
- Final surface restoration requirements.
Typically, contaminants that would offer cause for concern include fertilizers, pesticides and other harsh chemicals. An open or abandoned well does not offer any protection, leaving contaminants to easily flow into an aquifer.
Is It Required?
Federal, state and local regulations have been established in order to prevent future contamination of aquifers. The primary goal of plugging a well is to prevent future contamination and to make sure the area is returned to its original state, prior to any assessments or drilling processes. Overall, the area needs to be returned to pre-drilling conditions.
In order to properly plug a well, you must be licensed. Talon/LPEis licensed in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado and boasts extensive experience in this. Reach out to one of our environmental professionals using the button below and they will work with you to ensure your well has been properly plugged.