AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texans preparing to head out for the start of dove season should be on the lookout for abandoned or deteriorated water wells. Dove season in Texas starts Sept. 1.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation estimates there are as many as 150,000 abandoned or deteriorated wells in Texas. If you see or are aware of an abandoned well, you should report it to TDLR. When filing the report, please include an address or GPS coordinates and any photos or video of the well, TDLR said.
Abandoned or deteriorated water wells can contaminate groundwater and may allow animal waste or pesticides to enter aquifers directly. Uncapped wells may also severely injure or kill animals and humans when they fall partially or completely into the well, TDLR said.
What does an abandoned/deteriorated well look like?
TDLR said water wells could be a plastic, steel, brick or concrete casing (pipe) that extends above ground, or there could be a hole in the ground with no apparent bottom. Abandoned or deteriorated well casings or pipes may be cut off at ground level, posing an additional threat.
A deteriorated well is a well that is causing or likely to cause pollution of any water in the state, including groundwater, TDLR said.
How to fix abandoned/deteriorated wells (according to TDLR)
Landowners are responsible for abandoned or deteriorated water wells on their property, and once they’re aware of an abandoned well on their property, they must plug it within 180 days, TDLR said.
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, TDLR said.
Landowners can plug the well themselves — in compliance with Texas code on capping and plugging wells — or hire a well driller or pump installer licensed by TDLR to plug the well.
If a landowner chooses to plug the well themselves, they are required to follow TDLR’s requirements and submit a State of Texas Plugging report within 30 days.