How to legally abandon a water well in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Water Resources (“ADWR”) regulates the abandonment of water 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 METHOD OF WELL abandonment
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
Step 1- Alternative Method of Abandoning a Water Well
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.
Step 2- Alternative Method of Well Abandonment
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.”
Step 3- to Alternative Method of Abandoning an Arizona Well
The third step to abandoning a well is…
Step 4- Alternative Method of Abandoning a Well in Arizona
The fourth step to abandoning a well is…
Step 5- Alternative Method of Abandoning a Water Well
Step five, the last step to abandoning a well is to file a notice of completion with the ADWR.
why you should properly abandon a well
Unused or abandoned wells in Arizona 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 an Arizona water well helps keep your water supply safe, removes a potential threat to your family’s health, reduces your liability and protects the value of your property.
once the abandonment forms are complete
Completed forms may be mailed to ADWR at the following address:
Arizona Department of Water Resources
Groundwater Permitting and Wells Section
1802 W Jackson St. Box 79
Phoenix, Arizona 85007.
Completed forms may also be submitted to ADWR’s main office in Phoenix at:
1110 W. Washington St., Suite 310
Phoenix, AZ 85007
The completed form must be legible and of good quality when received by ADWR so that it can be scanned into ADWR’s permanent records.
Also, if a fee is required, ADWR will not accept the form without the proper fee.
Time Frame for Processing an NOIA
ADWR has an overall time frame of 30 days to accept or reject an NOIA and approve or deny an abandonment authority. This overall time frame is divided into an administrative completeness review time frame and a substantive review time frame. Within 15 days after receiving an NOIA, ADWR will perform an administrative completeness review to determine whether the NOIA is complete and correct.
If ADWR determines the NOIA to be incomplete or incorrect, it will notify the applicant in writing and specify what information is necessary to make the NOIA complete and correct. Until the information is received, the administrative completeness review time frame is suspended. If the information is not submitted within 60 days, ADWR may deny the abandonment authority. Within 15 days after the administrative completeness review, ADWR will perform a substantive review to determine if the NOIA meets the substantive criteria required by statute or rule. By mutual agreement, the substantive review time frame may be extended by up to seven days.
During the substantive review, ADWR may make one written request for additional information. If additional information is requested, the substantive review time frame is suspended until the information is received. If the information is not submitted within 60 days, ADWR may deny the abandonment authority.
At the end of the substantive review, ADWR will send written notice either granting or denying the abandonment request. If the abandonment request is granted, the abandonment card will be mailed directly to the drilling firm. If denied, ADWR’s notice will state the reasons for the denial and provide an explanation of the applicant’s right to appeal. Forms to File after the Project is Completed.
Within 30 days of completion of abandonment, the well owner must file a Well Owner’s Notification of Abandonment (Form DWR 55-36) and the well driller must file a Well Abandonment Completion Report (Form DWR 55-58).
To learn more about abandoning an Arizona water well then contact the Dunaway Law Firm 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.