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August 16, 2012 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Lions Gate Restaurant - Club B
3410 Westover St
North Highlands, CA 95652
$20 Members - $25 Guests
Chris Nelson

David L. Von Aspern, R.E.A., with Sacramento County Environmental Management Department will be speaking on Sacramento County’s program that identifies and properly closes abandoned, unused water wells.  

In 2009 the State of California Attorney General (AG) reached a settlement with Shell Oil Company for underground storage tank violations at Shell’s service stations around the state.  In November 2009 the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department (EMD) received $700,000 from the Final Judgment to implement a program to identify and properly close abandoned, unused water wells.  

EMD created this program to help prevent contamination of groundwater resources and to address unsafe conditions.  Improperly abandoned water wells pose a threat to ground water quality by acting as conduits for groundwater pollutants.  Additionally, unsecured open pit wells and large diameter drilled wells are a falling-in hazard to people and animals, and may be used to dispose of trash, debris, and hazardous waste. 

In order to locate, characterize, document, and mitigate abandoned wells EMD:

  • Developed field and office protocols/procedures and trained staff in their use,
  • Developed a field strategy for systematically locating abandoned wells,
  • Performed extensive public outreach regarding the Project,
  • Developed an abandoned well database management system and GIS layer,
  • Performed on-ground field reconnaissance for abandoned wells
  • Initiated ongoing oversight of abandoned well inactivation, destruction, and restoration.

To date EMD has identified and cataloged over 500 abandoned wells.  Abandoned wells may be destroyed, inactivated (two-year term), or brought back into service.  Wells that are an immediate threat to health and safety (open, hand-dug wells and open casing wells) are a priority.  This program benefits all County residents by protecting groundwater resources and eliminating potential safety hazards.  Because of the County’s outreach efforts, the public is more aware of the presence and potential liabilities of abandoned wells.  This awareness has resulted in substantial savings to prospective property buyers, especially in cases of foreclosed and/or bank-owned properties where buyers and sellers may be unaware of abandoned wells.