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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Identifying Existing Wells

Always ask the seller if there are any oil or gas wells on the land you are planning to buy. Also, tell your attorney to check the deed for oil and gas leases. You can also check the oil and gas well maps at the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office.

Maps do not exist for some older wells, so when you walk the land keep an eye out for:

  • A hole in the ground, with or without casing (metal pipe).
  • Areas with bare ground, stressed or dead vegetation that may be caused by brine or other oil and gas waste fluids.
  • Areas with unexplained bubbling or hissing sounds.
A wellhead, which looks like a vertical pipe up to 4 feet tall
A wellhead, which looks like a
vertical pipe up to 4 feet tall.
well in field
pump jacks, rod lines, oil/waste fluid tanks
Pump-jacks, rod lines, oil or waste
fluid tanks, drilling pipe and other
equipment that may be oil- or gas-related.
oil-soaked ground
Oil-soaked ground, which may look like
tar or asphalt.

Although most wells are found in fields or woods, a few older wells have been discovered in such unexpected places as basements, stream banks and under parking lots. If you think you've found an oil or gas well, contact the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office to schedule an inspection. The prior landowner may be responsible for plugging the well.


  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC
    Division of Mineral Resources
    625 Broadway
    3rd Floor
    Albany NY 12233-6500
    518-402-8056
    Send us an email
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions