Abandoned water wells pose a hazard, and are potential sources of contamination for groundwater. If you have an abandoned well on your property, you should take steps to plug or fill in the well to prevent accidents from occurring. Landowners can fill shallow water wells themselves by following the proper guidelines. In some cases, the county may help a landowner to fill in these wells. County authorities are naturally reluctant to come on private land where their equipment may damage water lines, gas lines, electric lines, or sewer lines. However, if you have an abandoned well, contact your commissioner or the groundwater conservation district office and see if they can help if you do not have the means to do so yourself.
Groundwater Districts are encouraging the State to make available more money to assist landowners in filling and plugging abandoned wells. A deep water well can be plugged by removing the casing, if possible, and cementing and/or using bentonite clay to fill the penetration to the surface, from the bottom up. Contact the PCGCD office if you have any questions about abandoned water wells.
An abandoned well is a direct conduit from the surface to the aquifer below. Contaminants that enter the well are introduced directly into the aquifer with no opportunity for natural filtration by soils or geologic materials. If a contamination incident occurs with a concentrated chemical, the potential for health threatening levels in the underlying aquifer is high. This puts other wells in the aquifer at risk, particularly those wells on the same property or those that are close to the abandoned well. Just one gallon of 2,4-D herbicide can contaminate about three to four million gallons of water. In terms of groundwater, approximately that much water would be held in the upper three feet of an aquifer over a 20-acre area.
A well open to more than one aquifer will allow water to migrate out of a zone with higher pressure head and enter a zone with lower pressure head. In many areas of Texas, deep aquifers are under high pressures and are extremely salty. When the casing from a high pressure well deteriorates and the well is abandoned without proper plugging, continual upward flow of salty water from the deeper aquifer will cause contamination of the shallower freshwater aquifer. Also, any pollutants that occur in one zone can migrate to another zone through the well.
For more information: http://abandonedwell.tamu.edu/
TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP
The Panola County Groundwater Conservation District office has recently received a number of inquiries pertaining to the transfer of water wells from an oil and gas company to a land owner. The District would like to take this opportunity to explain the procedures for doing so.
The individual or company who offers to transfer a water well must first remove the pump from the well casing. The District must be notified in writing that the land owner desires to take ownership of the well and a Transfer of Registered Well Request Form must be included with the notification. After the form is received and processed, the District will inspect the well with a down-hole camera for structural damage to the casing or screen and any indications of commingling of aquifers or zones. An inspection fee of $200.00 will be required at that time. If the well does not pass inspection, the District will not approve the transfer and will require that the water well be plugged at that time.
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that liability for the water well goes to the appropriate entity or individual. It is the intention of the District to help ensure that all water wells transferred are in good condition before the land owner takes responsibility for the water well. The District also wants to make certain that the company releasing the water well can reduce its responsibilities by remedying any known or visible well deficiencies prior to the transfer of ownership of said well. The goal of the District is the protection of all parties involved in the transaction as well as the quality of existing groundwater. The District does not warrant that the down-hole camera or visual inspection will reveal all well flaws or inadequacies such as improper cementing or gravel pack deficiencies.
Any questions concerning groundwater should be directed to the District office:
Panola County Groundwater Conservation District
419 W. Sabine
Carthage, TX 75633.
tel #: 903-690-0143.
Does the District have any plans to charge me for the water pumped from my residential well?
No. So long as you are using the water from the domestic well in a beneficial manner as defined by our district rules and your well is registered with the District, the District has no desire to charge for water use.
Will the District require a meter to be placed on my residential well?
No. The District will not require a meter to be placed on wells that are being used for domestic use purposes.
What is “domestic use?"
By “domestic use,” we mean the use of groundwater by an individual or a household to support domestic activity. For example, water for drinking, washing, cooking, irrigation of small lawns, family garden/orchard, and the watering of domestic animals.
What do you mean by “producing?”
“Producing” means the act of extracting groundwater from an aquifer by pump or other method.
What authority does the PCGCD have?
The Panola County Groundwater Conservation District is a political subdivision of the State of Texas organized and existing under Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, Chapter 36, Texas Water Code, and the District Act. The District is a governmental agency and a body politic and corporate of the State of Texas. The District was created to serve a public use and benefit in preserving the groundwater resources of the area.
What authority does the General Manager have?
The General Manager of the District shall have the authority to carry out the purposes of the District and to conduct the necessary activities of the District promulgated by the District Rules without action of the Board. The purpose of this authority is to allow the General Manager to properly conduct the daily and managerial activities of the District in order to allow the District to efficiently and effectively manage and preserve the groundwater resources of Panola County.
Why do I need to register my well(s)?
The accurate and timely reporting to the District is a critical component of the District’s ability to manage and evaluate the groundwater resources that it has the authority to regulate. The registration of all wells is necessary in order for the District to be able to receive water use information in its jurisdiction. The registration of existing wells will allow the District to protect exisiting well owners’ rights based on the historical use records.
What will happen if I do not register my well(s)?
The failure to comply with these rules may result in the assessment of fees, civil penalties, or any combination of the same. Existing well owners that do not register their well(s) prior to December 31, 2010 will be presumed to not have wells in existence prior to the adoption of these Rules. After December 31, 2010, existing well owners shall submit additional evidence that the well existed before the adoption of these Rules for purposes of grandfathering the well from the requirement to comply with any well location or spacing requirements of the District and any other entitlements that existing wells may receive under these Rules.
How much is 25,000 gallons of water?
The average household uses about 400 gallons per day. A swimming pool that is 15 feet by 30 feet, at 6 feet deep holds approximately 20,250 gallons of water.