Utah Water Well Abandonment Basics and Steps

In cases where a water well that’s been in regular use is no longer needed, the well can’t simply be left to sit there with no other action taken. Rather, there’s an important process that must be undertaken to carry this out properly, and it’s known broadly as water well abandonment (also called water well decommissioning in some circles). 

At Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, we’re proud to offer quality water well abandonment services to clients throughout Utah, ensuring all the proper steps are covered if you’re no longer in need of a well on your property. What is well abandonment, why does it matter, and what are the basic steps we’ll help you follow here? Let’s go through all the facts you need to know.

water well abandonment steps

Water Well Abandonment Basics

As we alluded to above, water well abandonment is the process of safely rendering a well that’s no longer in use into an unusable state, or at least one where it won’t pose any risk to people who might come on the property. A well that’s simply left to sit without being properly abandoned can be a huge safety hazard, as it’s not uncommon for wells to suddenly start pumping water again even after years of disuse.

This is why it’s important to have a professional team like Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC take care of well abandonment for you – we know the right steps to follow to make sure everything is done properly. This is a process that varies from state to state, and we’re well aware of all of Utah’s specific regulations when it comes to well abandonment. This is another major part of the value of this process: If it’s not carried out, you could face fines or even potential legal action.

Our next several sections will go over the steps that should be followed for abandonment of a water well.

Identify a Reputable, Experienced Well Professional

First and foremost, unless you have specific professional training in water well abandonment services, you’ll need to identify a reputable, experienced professional to handle the process for you. This is important not only for ensuring that it’s done properly, but also because some states actually require this service be performed by a licensed well driller or pump installer.

Water well abandonment should never be attempted without proper experience and training because of the severe safety risks involved if it’s done improperly. It’s also important to note that around 70 percent of abandoned water wells simply stop working and often can’t be fixed or repaired, even by a professional – this is why you should never attempt the process yourself.

Get multiple quotes from qualified professionals in your area to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Obstruction Removal

Once you’ve hired a well abandonment team, their first step will be to remove any obstructions found within the well. This is important to do at this stage and not after the other steps because it can be incredibly dangerous and poses a risk of electrocution if the upper casing has electrical wiring that’s still operating inside.

The first step will be for experts to clear out any gunk or other material that might have built up in the well over time. This can be an arduous process, but it’s essential to do so in order to ensure that everything is in good condition for the next steps.

Excavation, Filling and Sealing

Next up, your team will get to work on the excavation process. This will involve removing the well head and all associated piping, as well as digging down to the water table. The water table is the groundwater level that’s found below ground – it’s generally about 6 feet down for most residential properties, but this can vary depending on the location.

Once the excavation is complete, your team will begin filling the well with the soil that was removed at the beginning of this process. The well will be grouted below the static water level, and disinfected gravel will be added to the well to keep it from being re-contaminated.

Capping and Backfilling

From here, it’s time to prevent any surface or near-surface contaminants from potentially entering the casing. This is done by capping that’s constructed from a strong but non-corroding material that meets or exceeds local and state requirements.

Finally, the well will be backfilled with clean soil to prevent any possible contaminants from entering into the water supply. This is one of the most critical parts of the abandonment process because it ensures there are no access points for outside contaminants – soil composition can vary widely from one property to the next, so it’s important to have a professional backfill the well to make sure it’s done properly.


The final step in this process involves the reporting of your newly decommissioned well to state and local authorities. This is an important step because it helps to keep track of all abandoned wells in your area, as well as any potential risks they may pose to the community.

Once again, the needs involved in this reporting will vary between states and municipalities, so be sure to check with your specific governing body for more information. This is another area where working with quality well professionals holds major value, as we’re fully up to speed on all of Utah’s well-related laws and requirements.

If you’re looking to abandon a water well on your property, it’s important to understand the basics steps involved. For more on this or any of our water well drilling or pump services in Utah, speak to the pros at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC today.