20 Dec 2013

Hidden Dangers of Old Wells

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Old Wells – Health & Safety Risks

Lassie saved Timmy from an Old Well
“What’s that Lassie? Timmy fell down the old well?”

Few of us can forget that innocent yet unintentionally funny quote from television’s Lassie. Thanks to one heck of a smart dog, little Timmy was rescued. That was just a TV show; in real life, old and abandoned wells pose equally real dangers.

How do you find and fix an old well?

It’s not always easy. The property you now own may have been bought and sold several times in the past, and the well you rely on for your private water supply may not be the only well that exists on your land. There are many ways to drill a well, with some techniques much safer than others. Well components and even the ground around them can become unstable and collapse. Unused wells can also collect pollutants like fertilizer and animal waste, which can then contaminate groundwater and spread to other sources of fresh water in an aquifer.

Locating Old Wells

In order to remedy any potential dangers, property owners should take the first and important step of finding abandoned wells on their land. There are a number of ways to locate these old wells, even if you didn’t dig them yourself:

  • Look for pipe ends that stick out of the ground.
  • Inspect small structures or buildings for evidence of past well houses.
  • Locate any unusual ground depressions on the property.
  • Check for ground connections beneath old, unused or damaged windmills.
  • If you rely on a utility for water, find out how water was supplied to your home before a connection was made to the utility.
  • Talk to previous landowners if possible, and review any surveys, maps or other property documents that still exist.

Hidden dangers of old wells New property owners should also speak with neighbors to learn any potential information about wells that previous owners may have operated in the past. The more details you can gather from all possible sources, the better.

After you have located any derelict wells on your property, the next step is to shut them down. Special precautions must be made with environmental officials, and regulations must be followed depending on where you live. For example, not all materials are approved for filling in an old well hole. Contact a professional well contractor like C&J Well Company in Indianapolis, for help with the process. C&J has the tools and experience to guide well owners through every step of proper decommissioning.

We can’t all have a Lassie at home to protect us from dangers. Keep your property safe for everyone and everything, by taking care of old and abandoned wells.