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Wells that are no longer in use are considered abandoned wells. State law requires that any abandoned well must be properly decommissioned. The owner is responsible for having a well decommissioned by a licensed well driller. This is necessary because If wells are not properly decommissioned, they pose a hidden danger to people—especially children—and animals that could easily fall into them. An unused well also creates a public health threat, providing a direct route for pollutants to contaminate our ground water. This is why filling a well with garbage or dirt is illegal.


SAFETY FIRST: If your well shaft is exposed, secure the top of the well to prevent a person or animal from falling into it, then contract with a licensed well driller as soon as possible for decommissioning.

If you find an unused well that is not on your property, please contact us. You'll need the property owner's name, address, and tax account number, if known.
The abandonment process begins when you or a well driller submit a decommissioning application either through a paper application or online. A licensed well driller will typically seal a hand-dug well with concrete. Drilled wells require a more specialized process. To learn more, contact us at 360-728-2235 or the Washington State Department of Ecology at 425-649-7044.


To keep your well for irrigating a garden, a waiver is necessary. Irrigating more than one-half acre of noncommercial lawn and garden also requires a water-right permit from the Washington State Department of Ecology.


The Dangers of Abandoned Wells

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