455B.190 ABANDONED WELLS PROPERLY PLUGGED. 1. As used in this section: a. "Class 1 well" means a well one hundred feet or less in depth and eighteen inches or more in diameter. b. "Class 2 well" means a well more than one hundred feet in depth or less than eighteen inches in diameter or a bedrock well. c. "Class 3 well" means a sandpoint well or a well fifty feet or less in depth constructed by joining a screened drive point with lengths of pipe and driving the assembly into a shallow sand and gravel aquifer. d. "Department" means the department of natural resources. e. "Designated agent" means a person other than the state, designated by a county board of supervisors to review and confirm that a well has been properly plugged. f. "Filling materials" means agricultural lime. Filling materials may also include other materials, including soil, sand, gravel, crushed stone, and pea gravel as approved by the department. g. "Owner" means the titleholder of the land where a well is located. h. "Plug" means the closure of an abandoned well with plugging materials which will permanently seal the well from contamination by surface drainage, or permanently seal off the well from contamination into an aquifer. i. "Plugging materials" means filling and sealing materials. j. "Sealing materials" means bentonite. Sealing materials may also include neat cement, sand cement grout, or concrete as approved by the department. k. "Well" means an abandoned well as defined in section 455B.171. 2. All wells shall be properly plugged in accordance with the schedule established by the department. The department shall develop a prioritized closure program and a time frame for the completion of the program and shall adopt rules to implement the program. The schedule established by the department shall provide that to the fullest extent technically and economically feasible, all wells shall be properly plugged not later than July 1, 2000. 3. Wells shall be plugged as follows: a. Class 1 wells shall be plugged by placing filling materials up to one foot below the static water level. At least one foot of sealing materials shall be placed on top of the filling materials up to the static water level, as a seal. Filling materials shall be added up to four feet below the ground surface. However, sealing materials may be used to fill the entire well up to four feet below the ground surface. The casing pipe shall be removed down to at least four feet below the ground surface and shall be capped with at least one foot of sealing materials. Obstructions shall be removed from the top four feet of the ground surface and the top four feet shall be backfilled with soil and graded. b. Class 2 wells shall be plugged by placing filling materials at the bottom of the well up to four feet below the static water level. At least four feet of sealing material shall be added on top of the filling material up to the original static water level. Filling materials shall be placed up to four feet below the ground surface and the well shall be capped with at least one foot of sealing material. However, sealing materials may be used to fill the entire well up to four feet below the ground surface. The upper four feet of the casing pipe below the ground surface shall be removed. The top four feet of the ground surface shall be removed of obstructions and backfilled with soil and graded. c. Class 3 wells shall be plugged by pulling the casing and sandpoint out of the ground, and collapsing the hole. The well may also be plugged by placing sealing materials up to four feet below the ground surface and by removing the upper four feet of casing pipe below the ground surface. The top four feet of the ground surface shall be removed of obstructions and backfilled with soil and graded. 4. The department shall sponsor an advertising campaign directed to persons throughout the state by print and electronic media designed to notify owners of the deadline for plugging wells, penalties for noncompliance, and information about receiving assistance in plugging wells. 5. An owner may, independent of a contractor, plug a well pursuant to this section subject to review and confirmation by a designated agent of the county or a well driller registered with the department. 6. A person who fails to properly plug a well on property the person owns, in accordance with the program established by the department, or as reported by a designated agent or a registered or certified well contractor, is subject to a civil penalty of up to one hundred dollars per every five calendar days that the well remains unplugged or improperly plugged. However, the total civil penalty shall not exceed one thousand dollars. The penalty shall only be assessed after the one thousand dollar limit is reached. If the owner plugs the well in compliance with this section, including applicable departmental rules, before the date that the one thousand dollar limit is reached, the civil penalty shall not be assessed. The penalty shall not be imposed upon a person for improperly plugging a well until the department notifies the person of the improper plugging. The moneys collected shall be deposited in the financial incentive portion of the agriculture management account. The department of agriculture and land stewardship may provide by rule for financial incentive moneys, through expenditure of the moneys allocated to the financial-incentive-program portion of the agriculture management account, to reduce a person's cost in properly plugging wells abandoned prior to July 1, 1987.

         Section History: Recent Form

         87 Acts, ch 225, § 305; 89 Acts, ch 286, § 1; 91 Acts, ch 224, §7
         Referred to in § 455B.183A, 558.69

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