In an ongoing project across the province, landowners are being encouraged to decommission wells that have outlived their lifespan.
In an effort to further educate the public on the matter, two workshops are being held at Schultz Hall (Highway 53 east of Ponoka) on Thursday March 12 and at Tees Hall (Highway 12 and Secondary Highway 821) on Thursday March 19. Admission to both is free.
Alberta agricultural water engineer Brandon Leask will be presenting at both workshops to make people aware that they should be properly decommissioning appropriate wells.
Part of the presentation will include information on the Growing Forward on Farm Water Management program.
“In terms of the grant program for active ranchers, producers, farmers . . . we’ll pay up to 50 per cent (up to $2,000) if they use a licensed company,” said Leask.
The cost of decommissioning a well depends on its dimensions.
“We just want to make sure that if someone is going to do it themselves, they’re doing it properly,” said Leask.
Part of the process is keeping the province updated on their activity for the provincial database. “If someone decommissions a well, we want to update that (in the) database,” he added.
In order to be able to apply to the grant program, landowners must also have a long term water management plan. “The idea is to have people think about their water source from time to time,” said Leask.
“What water they have and what they can do to improve it,” he added.
Some wells ready for decommissioning can pose an environmental or safety concern, Leask says there are others that pose no risk at all.
“It’s (wells) access to an aquifer, containments can get down,” he explained.
Alberta Environment’s initiative to have the wells decommissioned is a proactive step, says Leask. It is also a legal requirement. There are thousands across the province that still need decommissioning.