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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 170. Geothermal Energy Regulations
9/24/2022

4VAC25-170-80. Abandonment and plugging of wells.

A. Notification of intent to abandon any exploration, production, or injection well shall be submitted to the division director at least 48 hours before the beginning of plugging operations. When notification of intent to abandon an exploratory, production, or injection well is received, the division director may send a departmental representative to the location specified and at the time stated to witness the plugging of the well.

B. 1. Any drilling well completed as a dry hole from which the rig is to be removed shall be cemented unless authorization to the contrary has been given by the division director.

2. The bottom of the hole shall be filled to, or a bridge shall be placed at the top of, each producing formation open to the well bore. Additionally, a cement plug not less than 100 feet in length shall be placed immediately above each producing formation.

3. A continuous cement plug shall be placed through all freshwater-bearing aquifers and shall extend at least 50 feet above and 50 feet below said aquifers.

4. A plug not less than 100 feet in length shall be placed at or near the surface of the ground in each hole.

5. The interval between plugs shall be filled with a nonporous medium.

6. The method of placing cement in the holes shall be by any method approved by the division director in advance of placement.

7. The exact location of each abandoned well shall be marked by a piece of pipe not less than four inches in diameter securely set in concrete and extending at least four feet above the general ground level. A permanent sign of durable construction shall be welded or otherwise permanently attached to the pipe and shall contain the well identification information required by 4VAC25-170-50 A and the date the well was plugged.

8. When drilling operations have been suspended for 60 days, the well shall be plugged and abandoned unless written permission for temporary abandonment has been obtained from the division director.

9. Within 20 days after the plugging of any well, the responsible operator, owner, or designated agent who plugged or caused the well to be plugged shall file a notice of intent to plug or abandon and an affidavit with the department indicating the manner in which the well was plugged.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.1-179.7 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-04-13 § 8, eff. May 1, 1984; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. October 24, 2012; Volume 33, Issue 21, eff. July 27, 2017.

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