Water Well Standards


Part III. Destruction of Wells

Section 20. Purpose of Destruction.

A well that is no longer usefulNote 21 (including exploration and test holes) must be destroyed in order to: 1. Assure that the groundwater supply is protected and preserved for further use. 2. Eliminate the potential physical hazard.

Section 21. Definition of "Abandoned" Well.

A well is considered 'abandoned' or permanently inactive if it has not been used for one year, unless the owner demonstrates intention to use the well again. In accordance with Section 115700 of the California Health and safety Code, the well owner shall properly maintain an inactive well as evidence of intention for future use in such a way that the following requirements are met:

(1) The well shall not allow impairment of the quality of water within the well and groundwater encountered by the well.

(2) The top of the well or well casing shall be provided with a cover, that is secured by a lock or by other means to prevent its removal without the use of equipment or tools, to prevent unauthorized access, to prevent a safety hazard to humans and animals, and to prevent illegal disposal of wastes in the well. The cover shall be watertight where the top of the well casing or other surface openings to the well are below ground level, such as in a vault or below known levels of flooding. The cover shall be watertight if the well is inactive for more than five consecutive years. A pump or motor, angle drive, or other surface feature of a well, when in compliance with the above provisions, shall suffice as a cover.

(3) The well shall be marked so as to be easily visible and located, and labeled so as to be easily identified as a well.

(4) The area surrounding the well shall be kept clear of brush, debris, and waste materials.

If a pump has been temporarily removed for repair or replacement, the well shall not be considered 'abandoned' if the above conditions are met. The well shall be adequately covered to prevent injury to people and animals and to prevent the entrance of foreign material, surface water, pollutants, or contaminants into the well during the pump repair period.

Section 22. General Requirement.

All "abandoned" wells and exploration or test holes shall be destroyed. The objective of destruction is to restore as nearly as possible those subsurface conditions which existed before the well was constructed taking into account also changes, if any, which have occurred since the time of construction. (For example, an aquifer which may have produced good quality water at one time but which now produces water of inferior quality, such as a coastal aquifer that has been invaded by seawater.)

Destruction of a well shall consist of the complete filling of the well in accordance with the procedures described in Section 23 (following).

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