By law, if you have a well on your property, you are responsible for it. You must follow specific rules for maintaining and, if necessary, abandoning a well to help protect the safety of your water and the groundwater resource.
You must decommission a well that is not being:
- used as a well
- maintained for future use as a well
A well purchaser must immediately abandon a new well it if is dry, unless you, as a residential land owner, agree in writing to maintain the well for future use as a well.
If construction is discontinued before your new well is completed, the person constructing the well must immediately decommission the well.
Unless you have received written consent from the Director, you must properly abandon (plug and seal) your drinking water well if it:
- produces mineralized water
- produces water that is not potable and you do not contact the local medical officer of health or you did not follow the local medical officer of health’s advice
- contains natural gas or other gas and you do not take steps to manage the gas to prevent a hazard
- permits any movement of natural gas, contaminants or other materials that may impair the groundwater and you do not take steps to correct the problem
- isn’t constructed or sited to the materials or methods outlined in the law and you have not taken steps to correct the problem or the steps you have taken failed.
Some of the issues that trigger well decommissioning of a drinking water well apply to other types of wells as well.
So, how do you decommission a well that falls into any of the above circumstances? First you should hire a licensed well contractor like Hunter Plumbing & Heating. They carry the skills and qualifications to properly plug and seal your well and prevent contaminants from entering into the groundwater.
An unused or improperly abandoned well that hasn’t been properly filled and sealed may:
- pose health and safety problems for animals and people, especially children
- contaminate the groundwater
- impact the water quality in your neighbour’s well
Which is why it is important to hire a licensed well contractor to properly decommission your well. They can also help you complete and send a well record to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change as required by law.
If you live in the Grand River watershed, you may be eligible to receive a grant from the GRCA for decommissioning an unused/unmaintained well on your property. Visit the GRCA’s website for more information.