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News February 19, 2013  RSS feed

Assistance available for plugging of deteriorated water wells

By David M. Bailey, General Manager

The Mid-East Texas Groundwater Conservation District currently has budgeted funds available to assist landowners with the cost associated with plugging abandoned or deteriorated water wells. Under this program, the District may provide up to $500 reimbursement for wells plugged after September 1, 2012.

Abandoned wells can pose a health threat to you and your neighbors. If abandoned wells have not been plugged or capped, they provide a direct conduit for contaminated water to get into the aquifer. Also, if the holes are left open, children and animals can fall into the wells. We urge all landowners to identify abandoned, deteriorated wells on their property and report them to the District. State law requires that any well open or uncovered at land surface be closed or capped.

When plugging an abandoned well, owners must meet the requirements of the Texas Water Well Driller’s Rules and fill out a state plugging report. The well must have all pumps, piping, and obstructing materials removed and be disinfected before it is sealed. Information and forms for this procedure are available at the District office.

If wells are not plugged, they should have a cap capable of supporting at least 400 pounds. The cap should either be permanently attached to the casing or have a permanently attached pipe extending at least 3 feet into the well casing. The weighted pipe should be no more than 2 inches smaller than the diameter of the well casing, and the cap should be of sufficient size that no opening shows if it is shifted.

The Texas Cooperative Extension offers a free booklet entitled Plugging Abandoned Water Wells, which discusses why and how to plug an abandoned well.

In order to be eligible to receive up to $500 toward reimbursing the cost of plugging each abandoned or deteriorated open water well, the well owner must supply sufficient written evidence of payment of those expenses and supply a State of Texas Water Well Plugging Report. This assistance is available only for water wells plugged after September 1, 2012. The District reserves the right to evaluate all requests for this assistance and may categorize levels of deterioration to ensure that the most problematic wells are given priority. This financial assistance is provided, for as long as funds are available, only to landowners who have abandoned or deteriorated water wells on their property. You may get more information by contacting the District Office by phone at 936-348-3212 or email at info@mideasttexasgcd.com.

The Mid-East Texas GCD was formed to protect our groundwater resources through proper management techniques and policies. It is governed by a Board of local citizens representing agriculture, industry and water interests for Madison, Leon and Freestone counties. Please help us in our efforts to protect and sustain this vital natural resource.

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