Abandoned Wells Program

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Your help is needed to find abandoned wells to ensure they are secure and safe.

Why It Matters

  • Abandoned Wells Impact Groundwater -Sacramento County relies on groundwater to supply half of its water needs. Water runoff which flows into abandoned wells can carry bacteria, sediment, fertilizer, pesticides and other pollutants directly into our groundwater. Residents may not know their drinking water is unsafe because many contaminants are not visible from looking at the water.
  • Safety Hazard-There are abandoned wells as small as 8 inches wide that children and animals can fall into causing injury or death. Open pit wells and large-diameter drilled wells are particularly hazardous and often are hundreds of feet deep.

How to Identify Abandoned Wells

Abandoned wells can be found on any type of property including: farms, industrial, vacant lots and even residential homes. Some signs of abandoned wells are:

  • Disconnected power pole
  • Protruding pipes or casing in the ground
  • Old water tanks
  • Concrete stand pipes

How to Make Abandoned Wells Safe

Our objective is to get the wells into compliance with Sacramento County Codes. There are three options for abandoned wells:

  • Repair them so that they are operational
  • Inactivate them if they will be used in the future
  • Properly destroy them (A special contactor, known as a C-57 well contractor will be needed for repairs and destructions). View USDA Well Destruction Video Updated 01/25/2012

A permit application is required for any of these three options. WELL APPLICATION AND PERMIT FORM.

How to Report Abandoned Wells

If you know of any wells that have not been in use for over a year, wells that have had their pumps removed, are unsealed, abandoned, or improperly filled (e.g. with dirt) or you need assistance locating them on your property, leave a message on the abandoned well hotline: 916-875-8532 or email EMD-abndwells@saccounty.net.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, use this “Plot Plan Sheet for Abandoned Wells”, indicate the well’s location on the plot plan, and mail to this office attention "Abandoned Well Program".

Resources and Information

For more program information, please contact:

Sacramento County Environmental Management Department
Environmental Compliance Division
10590 Armstrong Avenue, Suite A
Mather, CA 95655-4153

916-875-8400
916-875-8513 (fax)
emdinfo@saccounty.net

Award-Winning Abandoned Wells Program

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Merit Award  was given to EMD's Abandoned Well Program for its innovation to identify and properly close abandoned water wells which are a hazard and a potential source of groundwater contamination.

Wells constructed prior to the County's permitting programs and now abandoned or improperly sealed are difficult to locate. This program uses a database management system with integrated GIS mapping along with public outreach to identify and properly address abandoned wells that pose a threat to groundwater quality and are a falling-in hazard to people and animals.

As of June 2015, more than 770 abandoned wells have been identified.

Report Abandoned Wells to:

916-875-8532 

EMD-abndwells@saccounty.net