NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing Search all of NY.gov
D E C banner
D E C banner

Disclaimer

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.

Part 555: Plugging and Abandonment

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 23-0301, 23-0305[8])

[Effective date: May 1,1972]

[page 1 of 1]

Contents:

Sec.

§555.1 Policy

It shall be unlawful for any owner or operator to abandon any well, wells or lease without having plugged and abandoned such well or wells and effected surface restoration in the manner prescribed herein.

§555.2 Shut-in wells

(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner or operator thereof to shut in a well capable of being produced on a commercial basis for more than one year without specific permission from the department for an extension of the time period during which shut-in is permitted.

(b) Permission for an extension of the time period during which shut-in is permitted shall be granted administratively by the department upon written application therefor by the owner or operator and the demonstration of sufficient good cause. Such extension shall be granted for a period of not more than one year, but shall be renewable for additional successive periods of equivalent length upon receipt of successive petitions from the owner or operator and the demonstration of continued sufficient good cause.

(c) Upon termination of the period of lawful shut-in, the owner or operator must begin producing the well or permanently plug and abandon it as provided hereinafter.

§555.3 Temporary abandonment

(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any well to temporarily abandon same for more than 90 days without specific permission from the department for an extension of the time period during which temporary abandonment is permitted.

(b) Permission for an extension of the time period during which temporary abandonment is permitted shall be granted administratively by the department upon written application therefor by the owner or operator and the demonstration of sufficient good cause. Such extension shall be granted for a reasonable time period and shall be renewable for additional reasonable time periods upon receipt of successive petitions from the owner or operator and the demonstration of continued sufficient good cause.

(c) Upon termination of the period of lawful temporary abandonment, the owner or operator must either resume operations or permanently plug and abandon the well as provided hereinafter.

§555.4 Permanent abandonment

(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any well to permanently plug and abandon same until he has given notice at least 10 days in advance of the commencement of plugging operations to the department on form OG11, which is to be filed in triplicate, and has received a permit from the department therefor on form OG12. During the period while abandonment operations are in progress, this permit must be posted at the well site so as to be clearly visible and legible at all times.

(b) Upon receipt of the notice of intention to abandon, the department will send the permit therefor to the owner or operator or person responsible for the plugging operations and arrange for a representative to be present at the well to witness the plugging operations. The permit will contain a confirmation of the well location and date and time of the commencement of the plugging operation as specified by the owner or operator on form OG11. If the representative of the department is not at the well site at the specified date and time, the operator may proceed to plug and abandon the well without waiting for official witness.

(c) In the event the well to be plugged and abandoned is one upon which the drilling or rework operations have been in progress on a continuous basis as authorized or acknowledged by the department on form OG9 as provided in Part 552, the notice of intention to abandon may be given verbally or by telegram to the regional headquarters administering to the county in which the well is located. In such event, the regional headquarters will acknowledge receipt of the notice of intention to abandon either verbally or by telegram. Although this procedure shall be allowed to prevent excessive waiting time, the owner or operator still must provide the department with formal notice of intention to abandon utilizing form OG11 as promptly as is reasonably possible, and will be furnished with a permit on form OG12.

(d) In an emergency or where compliance with the normal procedure of 10 days advance notification to the department of a planned permanent plugging and abandonment of a well clearly will cause undue hardship upon the owner or operator, the notice of intention to abandon may be given verbally to the department (normally to the regional headquarters administering to the county in which the well is located). In such event the notice of intention to abandon will be acknowledged verbally or by telegram. Although this procedure shall be allowed in an emergency or to prevent undue hardship, the owner or operator still must provide the department with formal notice of intention to abandon utilizing form OG11 as promptly as is reasonably possible, and will be furnished with a permit on form OG12.

§555.5 Plugging methods, procedures and reports

(a) The plugging of a well shall be conducted in accordance with the following sequence of operations:

(1) The well bore, whether to remain cased or uncased, shall be filled with cement from total depth to at least 15 feet above the top of the shallowest formation from which the production of oil or gas has ever been obtained in the vicinity. Alternatively, a bridge topped with at least 15 feet of cement shall be placed immediately above each formation from which the production of oil or gas has ever been obtained in the vicinity.

(2) If any casing is to be left in the ground, a cement plug of at least 15 feet in length shall be placed at the bottom of such section of casing. A similar plug shall be placed at the top of such section of casing unless it shall extend to the surface. In the latter event, the casing shall be capped in any such manner as will prevent the migration of fluids and not interfere with normal soil cultivation.

(3) If casing extending below the deepest potable fresh water level shall not remain in the ground, a cement plug of at least 15 feet in length shall be placed in the open hole at a position approximately 50 feet below the deepest potable fresh water level.

(4) If the conductor or surface casing is drawn, a cement plug of at least 15 feet in length shall be placed immediately below the point where the lower end of the conductor or surface casing shall previously have rested. The hole thereabove then shall be filled with cement, sand or rock sediment or other suitable material in such a manner as will prevent erosion of the well bore area and not interfere with normal soil cultivation.

(5) The interval between all plugs mentioned in paragraphs (1) through (4) of this subdivision shall be filled with a heavy mud-laden or other approved fluid.

(6) The operator shall have the option as to the method of placing any cement in the hole by either (i) dump bailer, (ii) pumping or siphoning through tubing or drill pipe, (iii) pump and plug, or (iv) such other method as shall be approved by the department.

(b) In the event mechanical or other unusual conditions in the well are such as to make plugging following the sequence outlined in subdivision (a) above impractical, the owner or operator may be granted permission by the department to use some alternative or equivalent plugging procedure.

(c) As a part of the plugging and abandonment operation, the owner or operator shall fill with earth any pit or other excavation, including any rat hole or mouse hole, which has been created to facilitate the drilling or production of the well. In addition, a reasonable effort to smooth the surface adjacent to the well and filled pit or excavation so as to place the surface in a condition similar to the adjacent terrain and without undue elevation shall be made. If it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department that no hazard will result and the landowner has signed an appropriate release, these surface restoration requirements will be waived.

(d) Within 30 days after the plugging of any well, a plugging report on form OG13 shall be filed with the department by the owner or operator or person responsible for the plugging operation.

§555.6 Conversion to fresh water wells

When any well to be plugged may safely be used as a fresh water well, and such utilization is desired by the landowner, the well bore need not be filled above the required plug placed below the deepest potable fresh water level. Permission for such plugging and conversion procedure will be issued by the department upon application therefor from the owner or operator accompanied by a written statement from the landowner granting authority for such action and accepting full responsibility for the well.