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Ontario Ground Water Association wants action on abandoned wells in province

Recent tragedy a reminder of importance of proper decommissioning

June 1, 2023  By Ground Water Canada

St. Thomas, Ont. – The board of directors for the Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) are saddened by a recent accident involving an unsecured well.

“On behalf of our members and the board of directors, we extend our deepest condolences to the family involved in the recent tragic incident involving an unsecured well in Cobourg, Ont.,” says Dwayne Graff, president of OGWA and owner of Well Initiatives. “Over the years across Ontario, our members have seen abandoned wells left unused, not maintained, forgotten, or sealed using sub-standard methods. Each well owner is responsible for the maintenance and proper decommissioning of any well on their property. This case is a stark reminder of why well maintenance is important. I would encourage the public to contact a licensed well contractor to service/properly decommission any unused water well.”

OGWA works with many agencies to raise awareness of water wells, their operation, and decommissioning, such as Green Communities of Ontario for production of the “Well Aware” program and booklet for well owners (


Over the years, the province of Ontario has funded a number of programs for proper capping of abandoned wells. Its website has information on locating existing wells: However, the time and cost for landowners to find and decommission their wells can sometimes be prohibitive.

OGWA encourages the municipal, provincial and federal governments to collaborate on a new program that will reduce the costs for landowners to identify and decommission unused wells.

OGWA is willing to be an active participant in any new program that will advance this critical safety issue.

With a number of recent occurrences at various locations in Ontario, the time to act is now.

For more information, email OGWA at

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