(a)  The well(s) shall be abandoned by the well owner in accordance with one of the following procedures or other alternatives approved by the Director based on a demonstration of not adversely affecting human health or the environment:

(1)           Procedures for temporarily or permanently abandoning wells other than closed-loop geothermal wells shall be the same as described in Rule .0113 of this Subchapter.

(2)           For temporarily abandoning a closed-loop geothermal well, the well shall be maintained whereby it is not a source or channel of contamination during the period of abandonment. 

(3)           Procedures for permanently abandoning closed-loop geothermal wells shall be as follows:

(A)          all casing, tubing or piping, and associated materials shall be removed prior to initiation of abandonment procedures if such removal will not cause or contribute to contamination of groundwater;

(B)          the boring shall be filled from bottom to top with grout through a hose or pipe which extends to the bottom of the well and is raised as the well is filled;

(C)          for tubing with an inner diameter of one-half inch or greater, the entire vertical length of the inner tubing shall be grouted;

(D)          for tubing with an inner diameter less than one-half inch, the tubing shall be refilled with potable water and capped or sealed at a depth not less than two feet below land surface in the event that the inner tubing cannot feasibly be grouted; and

(E)           any protective or surface casing not grouted in accordance with the requirements set forth in this Section shall be removed and grouted in accordance with the requirements set forth in this Section.

(4)           In those cases when, as a result of the injection operations, a subsurface cavity has been created, the well shall be abandoned in such a manner that will prevent the movement of fluids into or between aquifers and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit.

(b)  Any well which acts as a source or channel of contamination shall be brought into compliance with the standards and criteria of these rules, repaired, or permanently abandoned.  Repair or permanent abandonment shall be completed within 15 days of the discovery of the violation.

(c)  Exploratory or test wells, constructed for the purposes of obtaining information regarding an injection well site, shall be permanently abandoned in accordance with Rule .0113 of this Subchapter within two days after drilling or two days after testing is complete, whichever is less restrictive.  An exception would be when a test well is being converted to a permanent injection well, in which case conversion shall be completed within 30 days. 

(d)  An injection well shall be permanently abandoned by the drilling contractor before removing his equipment from the site if the well casing has not been installed or has been removed from the well bore.

(e)  The well owner is responsible for permanent abandonment of a well except when the well contractor is responsible due to improper location, construction, repair, or completion of the well.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 87‑87; 87‑88; 143‑211; 143-215.1A; 143‑215.3(a)(1); 143‑215.3(c);

Eff. May 1, 2012.