A capped well is a non-deteriorated well that is properly sealed with a covering capable of preventing surface pollution from entering the well and sustaining weight of at least 400 pounds. The cap must be constructed in such a way that it cannot be easily removed by hand. Over the years, district staff has followed up on reports of open wells, or insufficiently capped wells, as part of our routine well site inspection program. Texas law and North Plains GCD rules place the responsibility to properly seal or cap wells on water well drillers, water well pump installers, and landowners.
In the Spring of 2019, the district prioritized assuring that all non-deteriorated wells that were identified as “capped” by well owners throughout the district are properly capped or sealed to prevent groundwater pollution and eliminate a serious safety hazard. When the district finds a well that is not sufficiently sealed or capped, our staff will attempt to temporarily seal openings to prevent contamination. Members of the district’s staff carry 16-inch diameter steel plates that can be placed on open well casings and sealed with adhesive as a temporary cap if there are no obstructions at the surface. The owner can weld or bolt the owner’s own cap on a well, or simply use the steel plate supplied by the district. The steel plate is free if the owner uses it to cap a well.
Sometimes, a well requires more work to properly seal the well casing because of obstructions at the surface. The district requests that those owners address the issue as soon as possible and district staff follow-up with the landowner. Most well owners are extremely cooperative when asked to ensure well casings are properly sealed.
In the spring of 2021, the district finished its initial site inspections of almost 2000 wells that were originally identified as capped. The district’s program will not stop when it completes the initial inspections. Members of the district staff will continue to reinspect capped wells periodically. Once a well is capped by the owner, or by the district’s staff, the well is rescheduled in the district’s well inspection program every couple of years to ensure the well stays properly capped and sealed.
You can help reduce the risks of uncapped wells by contacting the district If you find an open hole that you think may be a well. Please maintain a safe distance from the hole and contact the district office at 806-935-6401.