Well Abandonment

Well Abandonment Cost Share* Program

Why Should I Properly Abandon My Old Well?

Old wells that are left open and/or unused are at risk of having contaminants enter into them and into the groundwater.  Old drilled wells can develop cracks in the steel casing that can let contaminants through.  Old dug wells were often lined with brick or field stone which does not provide a good barrier to prevent contaminants from reaching groundwater.  Once contaminants reach the groundwater, it is difficult, if not impossible to remove them.  Often the contamination will migrate to other wells drawing water from that aquifer.  Old and unused wells may also pose a safety hazard.  Old dug wells can be 6 feet across and 50 feet deep or deeper.  Serious injury or worse could result if a person or animal fell into an old well.

How Do I Get Started?

The following describes the steps landowners must follow in order to receive cost sharing for a well abandonment project under this program.

1)  The well owner applies for cost sharing from Winnebago County LWCD.  WQIP - Application

2)  The well owner requests a cost estimate for the well abandonment project from a Licensed Well Driller or Pump Installer (service provider).  NOTE:  If the first estimate exceeds $500.00, a second estimate is required.

 3)  A copy of the cost estimate is submitted to the Winnebago County LWCD for review.  The LWCD reviews the project and determines eligibility for cost sharing.

4)  If the project is eligible for cost sharing, a “Cost Share Agreement” (CSA) must be signed by all necessary parties and approved before any work is done on the well abandonment project.  Well owners that do not have a signed and approved CSA prior to beginning their project will be denied cost sharing.

5)  Once the project is completed, the well owner pays the service provider in full and requests a signed and dated receipt indicating the amount paid or the invoice marked “Paid in Full” signed and dated.  The service provider must also properly complete and sign a WDNR Well Abandonment Form 3300-005 and give a copy to the well owner.

6)  The well owner submits these documents to the LWCD for review and reimbursement in accordance with the CSA.

* What is Cost Sharing?

Cost Sharing is financial assistance to pay for a portion of the project.  The Winnebago County Land and Water Conservation Department has state and local funding sources used for cost sharing the installation of conservation practices, such as, well abandonment projects.

Well abandonment projects will be ranked as a high or low resource concern and cost-shared as follows:

  • High resource concern is eligible for 70% cost-sharing up to a maximum of $1000.
  • Low resource concern is eligible for 50% cost-sharing up to a maximum of $500.

A well located in an area with a low potential to allow pollutant loading into the groundwater as determined by the LWCD shall be deemed a low resource concern well.  Well abandonment projects need to be completed by a licensed well driller or pump installer to be eligible for cost sharing."



For more information please contact the Winnebago County Land and Water Conservation Department or at the DNR webstie.


well susceptible to ground water contaminationhand dug well in need of abandonmentbentonite chips being added to abandon well