Wells are removed from service for a number of reasons, including construction of a replacement well, deconstruction of the building being served, failure of the well to produce safe drinking water, failure to meet state codes and standards, relocation of septic systems or when a community water system is extended to an area formerly serviced by individual private wells.
In New Jersey it is required by law that you have a professional abandon the well. A permit is required and a decommissioning report is filed with the State.
An abandoned well can directly channel surface contaminates into the groundwater if not properly filled with an impermeable material. Normally, this contaminated water is naturally purified in the upper layers of the soil however, if the well is not properly abandoned than the water bypasses the natural filtration process and directly enters and contaminates the groundwater.
Groundwater flows in soil and bedrock formations more commonly known as aquifers. Contamination that enters non abandoned wells can move into nearby active wells contaminating them as well.
After a well gets covered it is nearly impossible to find it and determine if it is a current source of possible contamination.
Everyone is encouraged to be a good steward of natural resources. Proper abandonment of flowing wells is everyone’s responsibility.