Well Decommissioning

What is Well Decommissioning

Abandoned wells can be a serious threat to the quality of your ground water supply. An abandoned well is one that has not been properly decommissioned. A properly decommissioned well has been filled, sealed, and plugged in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Why should I plug my abandoned well?

More than 90% of Nebraskans rely on ground water for domestic use. Abandoned wells may provide a direct link for contamination from the surface to enter ground water drinking supplies. Agricultural AND lawn care chemicals, livestock waste, and other contaminants can contaminate the water supply through an abandoned well.

Abandoned wells can also be physically hazardous. Small animals and even children can fall into wells that are not properly sealed.

Decommissioning Cost-Share Guidelines:

  • All pumps, piping and any other obstructions must be removed from the well site. The cost incurred in this removal is not eligible for cost-share.
  • The well shall be decommissioned in compliance with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Decommissioning of the well shall be completed within six months of the application approval date.
  • All plugging work must be performed by a licensed well driller or pump installer. Maximum cost-share rate is 75% of the actual cost not to exceed $500 for drilled wells or $700 for hand-dug wells.
  • Report the fill materials and quantities used to plug the well to the UNWNRD and the Nebraska Department of Water Resources.

How do I receive well decommissioning cost-share assistance?

  • Contact the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District office for an application. NO COST-SHARE WILL BE PAID WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL OF AN APPLICATION!
  • The landowner must fill out the application form and return it to the UNWNRD office for approval.
  • Approval is needed before a certified well driller plugs the well.
  • Upon application approval by the UNWNRD, the copy of the application and a verification form will be sent to the landowner. A copy and reporting form for completion by the contractor will also be included.
  • The reporting form will be completed by the contractor with information about the fill of the well. The reporting form has two sides to complete and must be notarized.
  • Cost-Share will not be paid until all completed forms (application approval, cost verification, reporting form) and a bill indicating all charges have been presented to the UNWNRD office by the landowner or well driller.

Reimbursement is made to the landowner after the claim has been reviewed.