805 KAR 1:060. Plugging wells; noncoal-bearing strata.


      RELATES TO: KRS 353.550

      STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 13A.100, 353.560

      NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 353.560 requires the department to regulate the plugging of all wells. This administrative regulation identifies the minimum acceptable requirements to plug or temporarily abandon wells drilled through noncoal-bearing strata.


      Section 1. Unless written permission shall be obtained from the department, no operator or owner shall permit any well drilled for oil, gas, salt water disposal or any other purpose in connection with the production of oil and gas, to remain unplugged after such well is no longer used for the purpose for which it was drilled or converted. However, nothing herein shall prevent the department, upon application and for good cause shown, from issuing a temporary permit, for a period not exceeding two (2) years, to an operator to leave a well unplugged, and nothing herein shall alter the provisions of KRS 353.170 relative to utilizing a well for the purpose of introducing air, gas, water or other liquid pressure into or upon the producing strata for the purpose of recovering oil and gas. The permission for temporary abandonment may be renewed at the end of the two (2) year period by reapplication. All wells on which a temporary abandonment permit has been issued shall be cased and capped in such a manner so as to protect all potential oil and/or gas zones and fresh water.


      Section 2. Before any work is commenced to plug and abandon any well the owner or operator thereof shall give notice to the department of his intention to abandon such well. Notice shall be given in the manner specified by the department. A duly authorized representative of the department may be present at the time and place specified to supervise the plugging of such well.


      Section 3. Wells not drilled through coal-bearing strata may be plugged as follows:

      (1) The bottom of the hole shall be filled to the top of each producing formation, or a bridge shall be placed at the top of each producing formation, and in either event a cement plug not less than fifteen (15) feet in length shall be placed immediately above each producing formation whenever possible.

      (2) A cement plug not less than fifteen (15) feet in length shall be placed immediately below all fresh water bearing strata.

      (3) A plug shall be placed at the surface of the ground in each hole plugged in such a manner as not to interfere with soil cultivation.

      (4) An uncased rotary hole drilled with the aid of liquid shall be plugged with approved heavy mud up to the base of the surface string at which point a plug of not less than fifteen (15) feet of cement shall be placed. The hole shall also be capped similar to other abandoned holes.

      (5) Any well in which casing has been cemented from surface to total depth and no casing can be pulled may be plugged as follows: The bottom of the hole shall be filled to the top of the producing formation and a cement plug not less than fifteen (15) feet in length shall be placed above this fill. A surface plug shall be placed as provided in subsection (3) of this section. No intermediate plugs will be required.

      (6) The operator shall have the option as to the method of placing cement in the hole by:

      (a) Dumb bailer;

      (b) Pumping through tubing;

      (c) Pump and plug; or

      (d) Other method approved by the director.


      Section 4. Within thirty (30) days after the plugging of any well has been accomplished, the owner or operator thereof shall file a plugging report with the department setting forth in detail the method used in plugging the well. Such report shall be made on a form provided by the department.


      Section 5. When the well to be plugged may safely be used as a fresh water well, and such utilization is desired by the landowner, the well need not be filled above the required sealing plug set below fresh water; provided, that written authority for such use is secured from the landowner and filed with the department.


      Section 6. If a person fails to comply with this administrative regulation, any person lawfully in possession of land adjacent to or in the neighborhood of the well may enter on the land upon which the well is located and plug the well in the manner provided in KRS 353.180(1) or this administrative regulation, and may maintain a civil action against the owner or person abandoning the well, jointly or severally, to recover the cost of plugging the well. This section shall not apply to persons owning the land on which the well is situated, and drilled by other persons. (OAG-Rg-4; 1 Ky.R. 1069; eff. 6-11-75.)