Private Irrigation Wells

If you have an irrigation well on your property that is no longer functioning, you are required by state law to repair it or abandon it. If you are selling your property you should also disclose that you have a well on your property, as the state has rules governing these wells.

An estimated 400,000 private water wells exist in Illinois. Each year, many of these wells are abandoned. An abandoned well can pose a health and safety hazard if it is improperly sealed or not sealed at all. An abandoned well can serve as a route for contaminating groundwater. Contaminated surface water, urban runoff and drainage from pet enclosures can enter the groundwater through such wells and cause pollution of other wells in the area.

The Illinois Water Well Construction Code requires the owner of a water well to properly seal the well within 30 days after it is abandoned and no longer used to supply water. If a well or boring is in such a state of disrepair that it has the potential for transmitting contaminants into the groundwater or otherwise threatens the public health or safety, it also must be sealed.

The Groundwater Protection Act mandates that where an abandoned well is found to contaminate another potable water well, the owner of the abandoned well is responsible for providing a safe and sufficient supply of water to the owner of the well that has been contaminated.

A licensed water well driller must seal an abandoned well. A homeowner may seal his or her own well if a written request is made to the local health department or to the Illinois Department of Public Health describing procedures and materials, all of which must comply with the well code. The local health department or the Department’s nearest regional office must be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of the work to seal such wells and, after the sealing is finished, a completed sealing form must be submitted to the local health department or the Department’s central office in Springfield.

More detailed information can be found in the Illinois Water Well Construction Code, at http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/077/07700920sections.html.

Regional Offices: Illinois Department of Public Health WEST CHICAGO REGION, 245 W. Roosevelt Road, Building 5 West Chicago, IL 6018-4803 630-293-6800