By LeAnn R. Ralph
WHEELER — The Wheeler Village Board has updated the village’s private well abandonment ordinance.
Ordinance 2014-10 was unanimously approved by the Wheeler Village Board at the October 14 meeting.
The ordinance applies to all private water wells in Wheeler located on properties served by the village’s municipal water system.
According to the ordinance, all private wells in the village located where there is municipal water must have been abandoned by June 30, 1983, or no later than 90 days after connecting to the municipal system.
Owners of property connected to the municipal water system who want to keep using their private wells must apply to the village for a permit. The permit will allow the owner to operate the private well for five years.
To obtain a permit for operating the private well, property owners must have the well and pump inspected by a licensed well driller or pump installer.
Water from the well must be tested to ensure that it is safe. At least one coliform bacteria sample must be tested per permit.
No cross connections are allowed between the private well and the municipal water system.
The water used from the private well must not discharge into a drain leading directly to a public sewer utility unless it is properly metered and authorized by the utility.
According to state law, as of June of 2008, only licensed well drillers or pump installers can fill and seal unused wells.
Since 1936, state well codes have required property owners to fill and seal unused wells.
According to the state Department of Natural Resources, there are more than 250,000 unused wells in Wisconsin, and many of the unused wells are located on old farmsteads.
Wells that have not been properly abandoned with impermeable material can carry contaminants into the groundwater.