The Arizona Department of Water Resources (“ADWR”) regulates the abandonment of wells in Arizona. ADWR’s well abandonment rules require that well abandonment be accomplished “through filling or sealing the well so as to prevent the well, including the annular space outside the casing, from being a channel allowing the vertical movement of water.”
Overview of the Well Abandonment Process
The first step to properly abandoning a water well is to file a pre-abandonment notice with the ADWR. A.A.C. R12-15-816(B), (E) and (F).
standard abandonment method
There are two overarching ways in which a well can be abandoned. First, through the standard abandonment and second is the alternative method.
A standard abandonment method may be used for any water well, regardless of the aquifer and vadose zone conditions applicable to the well.
“Alternative” abandonments methods
There are five alternative abandonment methods that describe different vadose zone and aquifer conditions. In most cases, the alternative abandonment method will be less expensive than the standard method. However, a well owner may need to demonstrate to ADWR that the well to be abandoned falls within the condition to which the alternative method applies before that method may be used. For that reason, the abandonment process may take longer if an alternative abandonment method is proposed. before proceeding with an alternative abandonment method, it is advised that you contact the ADWR Hydrology Division by phone at 602-771-8500.
The well abandonment rules are set forth in Arizona Administrative Code (“A.A.C.”) R12-15-816. Under A.A.C. R12-15-816(G), the Department’s well abandonment rules requires that the abandonment of a well be accomplished “through filling or sealing the well so as to prevent the well, including the annular space outside the casing, from being a channel allowing the vertical movement of water.”
The last step to abandoning a well is to file a notice of completion with the ADWR.
why you should properly abandon your well
Unused or abandoned wells can be a safety hazard and can contaminate groundwater. A sealed well will prevent the well from being a channel, allowing the vertical movement of water under various aquifer and vadose zone conditions. An abandoned well is a direct conduit from the surface to the groundwater below. Contaminants that enter the abandon well can flow directly down into the groundwater without the natural filtration of soils.
Properly abandoning a well helps keep your water supply safe, removes a potential threat to your family’s health, and reduces your liability and protects the value of your property.
Contact water law attorney Clint Dunaway at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.
* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the state of Arizona.