EcoTrack 11: Unused wells may contaminate

By Tara Hastings - bio | email

Posted by LS - email

BRYAN, Ohio (WTOL) - Wells are a great way to get natural water below ground. However, wells no longer being used could become a source for contamination.

Jim Watson and his crew from Watson Well Drilling are in an old gravel pit. They're stirring up the water in a well, which is no longer being used.

Right now the water is clear and safe to drink, and they want to keep it that way. "So what we have is these wells that could possibly be a source of contamination. We want to plug and abandon these wells properly," said Watson.

It takes more than just cutting off the top of the pipe to make it even with the ground. Special tools are used to go all the way down the long pipe. "We will go in and perforate this well. In other words, we'll chop holes in the steel pipe."

Afterwards a one-inch thick pipe is inserted along with a sealer. It seems like a lot, but it is necessary. If the abandoned well is not capped off properly, it can cause contaminants to flow all the way across the road to houses and affect their well water.

Watson said, "Any bacteria or fertilizer sprays, if they went in, in a period of 10 to 15 years, it could affect the neighbor's wells."

While we may not see the effects right away, the ultimate goal is protecting the ground water for future generations.