Every year, wells in James City County are abandoned when they are replaced by new wells or when homes are connected to the JCSA.
Dangers of Open Wells
Old wells that are not properly abandoned pose a significant threat to our drinking water supply. Pollutants like motor oil, paint and lawn chemicals can enter old wells through stormwater runoff or deteriorated well casings, contaminating our groundwater.
Shallow dug wells pose an additional hazard to animals and people, who may fall into one causing injury or even death.
To protect our groundwater, local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia law requires that private wells no longer in use be properly abandoned, which means that a licensed well driller permanently seals, or caps, the well.
Finding Old Wells
You may already know about an old well on your property, or you may suspect you have one but you aren't certain. The best way to spot an old well is to look for 2-inch or 4-inch pipes sticking out of the ground. Less obvious signs include odd bumps or depressions in the ground, especially in basements, under steps or near old cisterns.
A licensed well driller can properly abandon your old well by following JCSA and Virginia Departments of Health and Environmental Quality guidelines. The well driller will remove remaining well casings and obstructions like old pumps or debris, and then seal the well with grout, concrete or bentonite. Abandonment only takes a few hours and the JCSA will inspect the well abandonment process to insure quality and safety standards.
Please help us protect the environment. If you have an unused well on your property, Cap it!
Free Assistance Opportunities
With the assistance of grant funds, the JCSA will cap a limited number of wells free of charge. To apply, use our convenient online application or call 757-259-5416.