An “abandoned well” is a water well or borehole that is no longer in
use, that is unable to produce useable water, or is unable to be used
because of poor maintenance or significant wear and tear.
Wells are “temporarily abandoned” if they remain unused for a
minimum 365 days, or “permanently abandoned” if use is
interrupted for more than three years.
What does “proper abandonment” mean?
A “properly abandoned” water well is a well that has been cleared, plugged, and sealed by a licensed well
driller or by a county or municipal government. The sealed plug must be constructed to fill the well hole
for the length and diameter of the well. Merely capping an abandoned well is not enough to prevent
it from becoming a problem.
Why should I properly abandon my well?
Unused water wells that are not properly abandoned leave open holes in the
ground. These holes are dangerous. People (especially children), pets, and wild
animals can get hurt or trapped after falling into an abandoned well. These
holes serve as direct channels for contamination into Nevada's groundwater.
They allow contamination to pass straight through to a drinking water source
used by many people.
Contamination, such as chemicals and bacteria, may enter the well from the
surface environment. These open holes in the ground may also have been used
for trash and hazardous debris. The only way to eliminate dangerous
conditions and groundwater contamination from unused wells is to properly
Proper water well abandonment . . .
1) Restores protective barrier to minimize groundwater contamination
2) Removes physical hazards by removing tempting openings for
curious children and animals
3) Restores stability to the land surface
4) Eliminates or reduces liability
5) Protects and improves property values