Under Texas law, the landowners are responsible for plugging abandoned wells on their property and are liable for any groundwater contamination or injury that results from the wells.
Like other wells, an abandoned well is a direct channel from the ground surface to the aquifer below. Contaminants that enter the well move directly into the aquifer. If a concentrated chemical enters a well, it may move into the aquifer and threaten human health and the environment. It also puts other wells in the same aquifer at risk for contamination, particularly those on the same property or those close to the abandoned well.
Before you begin the process of plugging an abandoned well, notify the local groundwater conservation district. Some districts place restrictions on the type of well and depth of water in the well that a landowner may decommission. In some cases, you will need to hire a licensed water well driller or pump installer to seal and plug the abandoned well.
You are required to notify the Water Well Drillers Program of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation of your intent to plug the well and the method to be used. Also, send a copy of the state well-plugging form to the local groundwater conservation district.
For instructions on how to plug a well properly, see
– Plugging Abandoned Water Wells, by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at agrilifebookstore.org or at abandonedwell.tamu.edu
– Landowner’s Guide to Plugging Abandoned Water Wells, by the Texas Groundwater Protection
Committee, at www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/rg/rg-347.html
– The Texas Groundwater Protection Committee website at www.tgpc.state.tx.us/WaterWells.php