Celebrate Groundwater Awareness Week by properly filling and sealing unused wells

Contact: Kevin Masarik, (715)346-4276, kmasarik@uwsp.edu

 Stevens Point, Wis.– Groundwater Awareness Week, March 7-13, offers the perfect time to talk about important things that landowners can do to protect groundwater on their property.

Groundwater is the principal water supply for nearly three-quarters of Wisconsin residents and virtually all rural landowners. Because people with wells generally rely on groundwater for their drinking water, it’s important that potential sources of groundwater contamination are identified and corrected.

Unused wells left open and unattended are direct conduits to groundwater and are a common cause of groundwater contamination in rural areas. Anything that is dumped down the well or allowed to flow into an unused well is recharged directly into the groundwater aquifer and bypasses the natural filtering of pollutants that takes place as water infiltrates through the soil.

Because it can be costly and time consuming to clean-up groundwater once it has become contaminated, the most practical thing to do is to properly fill and seal any unused wells that are present on your property.

Everyone should check their property for unused wells. If you have an unused well on your property, consider having it properly filled and sealed as soon as possible. If you know of any neighbors with unused wells, try convincing them to do the same.

Anytime you drill a new well on your property to replace an existing well, the old well should be properly filled and sealed. Similarly, anytime you are thinking about purchasing a piece of property, you should inspect the land for unused wells and require that any are properly filled and sealed before the time of sale. 

Special procedures have been developed to ensure that unused wells are filled and sealed in a manner that will prevent future contamination. Not following the recommended procedures may fail to correct the problem and may even make it worse.

For more information on how to properly abandon an unused well go online to http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/dwg/forms/wellabandonment.pdf to view a copy of “Answers to Your Questions about Well Abandonment.” Or try contacting your local Land Conservation Department about assistance with properly filling and sealing unused wells. 

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