Capping Orphan Wells Is Important

By Will H

What is the orphan well program? An orphan well is an old oil well that has been abandoned a while ago. The orphan well program was created in 1977 to plug abandoned oil wells all over the state. Why is it important? It is important for the health and safety of people because it pollutes the groundwater and lots of people have a water well and that’s how they get drinking water and the polluted water leaches into the streams and that’s where a lot of the wildlife gets water. There has been $634 million in potential funding available through 2035 if federal and state funds remain at an expected level. 

Most of the oil wells are owned by the state and if you have one on your property you can contact the ODNR and they will buy it off of you and they will get some company to plug it. For people to go and do it they need to have a bid. A bid is when Ohio gets oil wells needing to be plugged and bid them off. To win the bid you need to bid for how much they will do it for and a time range. Whoever has the best deal they will get to plug the well.

To plug a well, they pull all the small pipes inside a bigger pipe till it’s just one big pipe. They put a thing called a well head on it. It gets threaded on the pipe then a smaller pipe gets put down the well and through the head. There is a ring on the head and when tightened down it holds that smaller pipe and makes it water tight. On the outside of the head there are 2 valves coming out of it. The pipe that was put down the bigger pipe gets water pumped down it and one of the valves is opened and the water pushes the oil and junk out of the well out of the well and it goes through a hose to a big tank called a pit and it holds the oil and junk from the well. After the water is clean they pump cement down the small pipe till it comes out the hose to the pit

This is everything you need to know about the orphan well program. It is a good thing to have because it can help the environment.

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