You may be aware of an old, unused well on your property, but both homeowners and businesses should be aware of previous owners who may have installed a well on your current property and the risks associated with old wells.
Property owners can look for clues such as pipes sticking out of the ground, depressions in the ground, old property documents or information from neighbors who know the history of the property.
It is important that old wells are properly decommissioned to protect both the groundwater and any buildings which may be constructed over the old well. The parts of the old well or the hole itself can be the source of many problems:
- Casings may deteriorate and rust
- Wells that were dug holes could be a safety hazard
- Leaking or open wells can be a conduit to groundwater for nearby contaminants such as fertilizer, animal waste, or improperly disposed chemicals
- If contaminants reach the old well and nearby groundwater, the chemicals can travel to other water sources
If you have an old well on your property and are not sure it has been decommissioned, contact a certified water well professional. All property owners are responsible for ensure their wells are properly maintained or sealed by a water well contractor. Methods of sealing may vary, but a certified contractor will be properly trained on current requirements.
For more information about maintaining an active well visit the Marion County Health Department Private Well Program. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Water Division is another helpful resource to view public well records or learn more about groundwater.