AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) said the recent incident in Bastrop County where three people died trying to rescue a dog that had fallen into an abandoned cistern highlighted the dangers of abandoned or deteriorated water wells in Texas.

TDLR said there could be thousands of abandoned or deteriorated water wells in Texas posing safety hazards and contributing to groundwater pollution.

According to the department, a well is considered “abandoned” when it is no longer in use.

Anyone who is aware of abandoned or deteriorated wells is urged to report them to the TDLR. The department said people should include an address or GPS coordinates, as well as any photos or video of the well, if possible when filing the report.

To avoid problems in the future, landowners should install a locking well cap or sanitary well seal – not just a cover over the well – to prevent unauthorized use or entry into the well.