Part of a series

Russ Tell, senior environmental specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, points to two main goals when plugging up old wells: protecting the aquifer and safety.

Water can flow down through an old, unused well and contaminate the water in an aquifer and impact the water quality of nearby wells if the well is not properly plugged.


Sherry Storjohann, environmental health specialist who tests wells in Crawford and Carroll counties, said this can be hard to understand and hard to explain.

“If they’ve got two or three wells on their property and a couple of them aren’t being used, but they’ve still got one that is servicing their family, those other wells are impacting that well,” she said.

“Basically, the logic I can make them understand is that a well is sitting out in the middle of a field, and I’m like, ‘Do you really want to continue to farm around this?’”

Old wells, which property owners may not even be aware of, also can represent a safety risk, especially for older, large diameter wells that people can fall into.

“Wells are a hazard that you may not be aware of and we want to eliminate that hazard,” Tell said.

Tell said a trend of owners plugging old wells peaked around 2008 or 2009.

crisisinourwells_serieslogoOTHER STORIES IN THIS SERIES:
Crisis in Our Wells:
Iowa’s Private Well Water Often Goes Untested, Presenting Unknown Heath Risks
Potential Contaminants in Your Well Water
Arsenic in Drinking Water Tied To Diseases
Water Quality Regulations In Iowa
Building A Database For Iowa’s Wells
Past Studies Show Contamination Levels in Iowa’s Rural Wells

Lead Present In Some Iowa Wells But At Low Levels

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1 Comment

  1. I agree that old wells can be a safety risk, especially if you are unaware that they are on your property. It could be beneficial to survey your property thoroughly if you think there is a potentially unused wells that you are unaware of so you can plug them for safety reasons. It could be very tragic to have an accident with a well if you could have prevented it.

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