Department of Environmental Conservation

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Well Plugging Requirements

An operator may decide, or state regulation may require, that a well be permanently plugged and abandoned. During the permanent plugging and abandonment process, the operator must comply with Part 555 of the rules and regulations for Oil, Gas and Solution Mining.

Notice of Intention to Plug and Abandon

An operator must inform DEC of their intention to permanently plug and abandon a well at least ten days before plugging operations begin. A well operator planning to plug and abandon any ECL Article 23 regulated well must submit a Notice of Intention to Plug and Abandon form (PDF) (255 KB) (NOI). Without this form, you cannot receive a Permit to Plug and Abandon any regulated well. Information on this form about the proposed plugging program allows DEC's Division of Mineral Resources (DMN) to ensure the well will be adequately plugged. Proper plugging protects ground water resources from contamination by oil, gas or brine. Operators should refer to the Instructions (PDF, 121 KB) for filling out the NOI appropriately.

Permit to Plug and Abandon

Once DMN has reviewed and accepted the NOI, DMN will issue the Permit to Plug and Abandon (Permit) to the operator responsible for the plugging operations. While plugging and abandonment operations are in progress, the Permit must be posted at the well site and must be clearly visible and legible at all times.

A Permit to Plug and Abandon:

  • Grants the operator permission to conduct plugging and abandonment operations as proposed in the NOI, under the conditions set forth in the Permit; and
  • Requires the operator to provide timely notification to DMN for the purposes of having a DMN inspector present to observe the plugging operations.

All well operators plugging wells under permits issued by DMN must use a plugging contractor that is registered with DEC. A listing of registered well plugging contractors and drilling contractors can be obtained from the Oil and Gas Searchable Database.

Plugging Report

Every well operator must submit a complete and accurate Plugging Report form (PDF) (212 KB) within 30 days after the plugging of any well. DMN uses the information provided on this form, and observations made during site inspections by DMN staff, to verify that the well operator protected ground water resources by complying with the approved plugging program. The Plugging Report is an important record of the final condition of the abandoned wellbore. Operators should refer to the Instructions (PDF, 163 KB) for filling out the Plugging Report appropriately.