How to Remove Well Casing

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Water wells are typically constructed for drinking water extraction, groundwater quality monitoring or groundwater pollution remediation. Property owners abandon wells that are out of commission so that they do not become a conduit to the underlying groundwater aquifer. One method of proper well abandonment is to remove the well casing from the ground and to backfill the hole with a cement grout. Certified well drillers who are properly trained and licensed perform well abandonment activities.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill rig with augers
  • Certified well driller
  • Driller’s helper
  • Chain or strap
  • Overdrill the well casing to loosen it from the surrounding material. To overdrill the well, choose a hollow-stem auger with an inside diameter larger than the diameter of the casing. For example, if the well casing is 2 inches in diameter, overdrill the well with a 4-inch or larger auger. Fit the auger over the casing so that the drilling will break up the grout, seal and sand pack surrounding the casing. Large wells, with casing diameters of 6 inches or greater, may too big to overdrill, depending on available equipment.

  • Attach a chain or strap to the well casing. Once the overdrilling is complete, leave the augers in the ground and attach a chain or strap to the casing and the auger. If overdrilling is not possible, attach large casings to small diameter, solid-stem augers placed inside the casing.

  • Pull the casing from the ground using the drill rig. Use care when extracting PVC or old casing since it tends to break easily and will become stranded below the land surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ream the borehole if the casing breaks below the ground surface to break the casing into small pieces that will exit the borehole with the soil cuttings as the augers rotate.
  • Drillers may manually pull very shallow well casings from the ground without the use of a drill rig.
  • Pressure grout the empty borehole after removing the well casing to protect the underlying groundwater aquifer.
  • Use care when removing PVC casing because it breaks easily.

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References

  • Photo Credit drill rig, image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com
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