Well Abandonment

pic_15aSometimes you will find an old, abandoned well on your property. It may be on some acreage you own in our beautiful north woods or in your home. Whether you live in the city or out in the woods, the state of Minnesota requires all unused wells to be removed unless you will be using it for irrigation.

Permanently sealing an abandoned well protects groundwater quality and public health for future generations. By permanently sealing an abandoned well you eliminate a major pathway for contaminants from the surface entering and polluting the ground water. It also eliminates inter-aquifer mixing that could occur for wells open to more than one aquifer. Abandoned wells can also be a safety hazard as children, adults, animals, and equipment can fall into them.

Every year between 10,000 and 12,000 wells and borings are permanently sealed in Minnesota, however much work remains. The Minnesota Dept. of Health estimates that there are still a half million unsealed, abandoned wells in Minnesota. When you find one, you should report it and if it is on your property you must have it properly sealed.

Dealing With An Abandoned Well

Abandoned wells and borings must be sealed by licensed well drillers. Minnesota does not permit homeowners to do this work themselves.

The property owner must file for Minnesota Department of Health Permit (there is a filing fee)

Once the permit has been received by Fideldy Bros. work can begin

Everything inside the well must be removed. Not only must all pumps, piping, and any machinery be removed, but often these wells become catch-alls. All obstructions, loose concrete, and any other types of debris must be cleaned out.

A pipe will be lowered to the bottom of the well. A fluid mixture will flow through the pipe, filling the well. The type of fluid mixture is dependent upon the type of well being filled.

Generally a bentinite clay, similar to a grout mixture, will be used to fill the abandoned well. However if the well is rock or cement casement other material will be used. In the case of a rock hole neat cement will be used. Neat cement grout is better than bentonite grout for sealing small openings and the space around rocks and drill casings. It is also better for sealing artesian wells. In the case of cement casement, an open pit well can be filled with local clay. Again, this must be done by a licensed well driller. By law, the property owner is not allowed to do this.

Fideldy Bros Well Drilling has the experience you need when dealing with an abandoned well. We are a fully licensed well drilling company and know what to do when its time to seal a well. Call Fideldy Bros when you discover any unused or abandoned wells and we will help you through the process.