Gov. Nixon announced several community water systems received grant funding to plug abandoned wells, reduces public health threat

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-122 For Immediate Release: May 1, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, -- Gov. Jay Nixon announced the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded 21 community water systems a total of $241,099.83 in grant funding.  This is the first time the Department has provided funds to public water systems to plug abandoned wells.  During tough economic times, this infusion of grant funding will help the systems protect citizens and the environment by plugging abandoned drinking water wells.

The systems will use the grant funds to locate and plug abandoned wells within the recharge area for the communities' drinking water supply wells.  Unplugged abandoned wells can pose a threat to public health by providing a direct conduit for near-surface contaminants to gain entry into drinking water aquifers.  The Department of Natural Resources estimates there may be as many as 500,000 unplugged abandoned wells in Missouri.  

"Groundwater aquifers supply water for about 94 percent of Missouri's public water systems," said Department of Natural Resources Director Mark Templeton.  "Plugging an abandoned well is much more cost effective than trying to clean up an aquifer after it has been contaminated."

The Department's Water Protection Program has provided the grants through set asides from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, established through the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  The Department is committed to working closely with communities to assist with funding efforts that support water and wastewater infrastructure improvements projects as well as provide a financial savings.

The public water systems must use the funds to hire licensed well installation contractors, who have the knowledge and expertise to perform well plugging work properly. The Department has awarded the grant funds to the following 21 public water supplies to plug abandoned wells.

For more information, contact the Department's Water Protection Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176, or call 800-361-4827 or 573-751-1300.