Abandoned Wells and Groundwater Contamination
Wells that are not being used for consumption or irrigation purposes are considered abandoned. An abandoned well can be a potential threat to health, safety, and the environment by contaminating the groundwater, which provides 100% of drinking water for Washington County residents.
Sealing Abandoned Wells
Unless you have a Well Maintenance Permit, Minnesota law (statues 103I.301) requires the sealing of abandoned wells. Well sealing must be completed by a licensed well contractor.
Washington County Well Sealing Grants
Property owners in the county may be eligible for financial assistance for sealing abandoned wells. Based on the property location and available funds, property owners may be eligible for reimbursement of 50% or 100% of well sealing costs, up to $2,000.
50% Cost-Share Assistance
- Reimbursement for 50% of well sealing costs, up to $2,000
- Open to abandoned wells in all areas within the county, while funds available
- Funding is provided by Washington County
100% Cost-Share Assistance
- Reimbursement for 100% of well sealing costs, up to $2,000
- Open to abandoned wells in Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMA), Special Well and Boring Construction Areas (SWBCA), and areas of PFAS contamination
- Funding is provided through Clean Water Fund dollars from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and 3M Settlement funds through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Apply for the Abandoned Well Sealing Grant Program
To apply for the abandoned well sealing grant program, you must first complete and submit the program application provided below. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note that grants cannot be provided retroactively to wells that were sealed prior to the implementation of a signed grant agreement.
Please contact the Department of Public Health and Environment at PHE-Wells@co.washington.mn.us.
Well Sealing Results
Since 2005, the Department of Public Health and Environment has helped seal over 300 wells in total in the county. Over 100 wells have been sealed using dollars from the Clean Water Fund. The remaining wells were sealed through the county's 50% cost-share program and 3M Settlement grants.
2019 3M Settlement Grant (on-going)
- A total of 7 wells were sealed in areas of PFAS contamination in 2019.
- Spent: $12,223.00 3M Settlement Fund.
2018 Watershed Based Funding grant
- A total of 21 wells were sealed in areas of contamination, or near public water supplies in 2018 and 2019.
- Spent: $20,224 Watershed Based Funding, with $20,224 in local county match.
- Grant report (PDF)