ASTM D5299 - 99(2012)e1

    Standard Guide for Decommissioning of Groundwater Wells, Vadose Zone Monitoring Devices, Boreholes, and Other Devices for Environmental Activities

    Active Standard ASTM D5299 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Decommissioning of boreholes and monitoring wells, and other devices requires that the specific characteristics of each site be considered. The wide variety of geological, biological, and physical conditions, construction practices, and chemical composition of the surrounding soil, rock, waste, and groundwater precludes the use of a single decommissioning practice. The procedures discussed in this guide are intended to aid the geologist or engineer in selecting the tasks required to plan, choose materials for, and carry out an effective permanent decommissioning operation. Each individual situation should be evaluated separately and the appropriate technology applied to best meet site conditions. Considerations for selection of appropriate procedures are presented in this guide, but other considerations based on site specific conditions should also be taken into account.

    Note 6Ideally, decommissioning should be considered as an integral part of the design of the monitoring well. Planning at this early stage can make the decommissioning activity easier to accomplish. See Practice D5092 for details on monitoring well construction.

    5.2 This guide is intended to provide technical information and is not intended to supplant statutes or regulations. Approval of the appropriate regulatory authorities should be an important consideration during the decommissioning process.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers procedures that are specifically related to permanent decommissioning (closure) of the following as applied to environmental activities. It is intended for use where solid or hazardous materials or wastes are found, or where conditions occur requiring the need for decommissioning. The following devices are considered in this guide:

    1.1.1 A borehole used for geoenvironmental purposes (see Note 1),

    1.1.2 Monitoring wells,

    1.1.3 Observation wells,

    1.1.4 Injection wells (see Note 2),

    1.1.5 Piezometers,

    1.1.6 Wells used for the extraction of contaminated groundwater, the removal of floating or submerged materials other than water such as gasoline or tetrachloroethylene, or other devices used for the extraction of soil gas,

    1.1.7 A borehole used to construct a monitoring well, and

    1.1.8 Any other vadose zone monitoring device.

    1.2 Temporary decommissioning of the above is not covered in this guide.

    Note 1This guide may be used to decommission boreholes where no contamination is observed at a site (see Practice D420 for details); however, the primary use of the guide is to decommission boreholes and wells where solid or hazardous waste have been identified. Methods identified in this guide can also be used in other situations such as the decommissioning of water supply wells and boreholes where water contaminated with nonhazardous pollutants (such as nitrates or sulfates) are present. This guide should be consulted in the event that a routine geotechnical investigation indicates the presence of contamination at a site.
    Note 2The term “well” is used in this guide to denote monitoring wells, piezometers, or other devices constructed in a manner similar to a well. Some of the devices listed such as injection and extraction wells can be decommissioned using this guide for information, but are not specifically covered in the text.
    Note 3Details on the decommissioning of multiple-screened wells are not provided in this guide due to the many methods used to construct these types of wells and the numerous types of commercially available multiple-screened well systems. However, in some instances, the methods presented in this guide may be used with few changes. An example of how this guide may be used is the complete removal of the multiple-screened wells by overdrilling.

    1.3 Most monitoring wells and piezometers are intended primarily for water quality sampling, water level observation, or soil gas sampling, or combination thereof, to determine quality. Many wells are relatively small in diameter and are used to monitor for hazardous chemicals in groundwater. Decommissioning of monitoring wells is necessary to:

    1.3.1 Eliminate the possibility that the well is used for purposes other than intended,

    1.3.2 Prevent migration of contaminants into an aquifer or between aquifers,

    1.3.3 Prevent migration of contaminants in the vadose zone,

    1.3.4 Reduce the potential for vertical or horizontal migration of fluids in the well or adjacent to the well, and

    1.3.5 Remove the well from active use when the well is no longer capable of rehabilitation, or has failed structurally; no longer required for monitoring; no longer capable of providing representative samples or is providing unreliable samples; or required to be decommissioned; or to meet regulatory requirements.

    Note 4The determination of whether a well is providing a representative water quality sample is not defined in this guide. Examples of when a representative water quality sample may not be collected include the biological or chemical clogging of well screens, a drop in water level to below the base of the well screen, or complete silting of a tail pipe. These conditions may indicate that a well is not functioning properly.

    1.4 This guide is intended to provide information for effective permanent closure of wells so that the physical structure of the well does not provide a means of hydraulic communication between aquifers or react chemically in a detrimental way with the environment.

    1.5 The intent of this guide is to provide procedures that when followed result in a reasonable level of confidence in the integrity of the decommissioning activity. However, it may not be possible to verify the integrity of the decommissioning procedure. At this time, methods are not available to substantially determine the integrity of the decommissioning activity.

    1.6 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The SI units given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.8 This guide offers an organized collection of information or a series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word“ Standard” in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.

    Note 5If state and local regulations are in effect where the decommissioning is to occur, the regulations take precedence over this guide.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C150 Specification for Portland Cement

    D420 Guide to Site Characterization for Engineering Design and Construction Purposes

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D4380 Test Method for Density of Bentonitic Slurries

    D5088 Practice for Decontamination of Field Equipment Used at Waste Sites

    D5092 Practice for Design and Installation of Ground Water Monitoring Wells


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 93.025 (External water conveyance systems)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 81151902(Geophysical exploration)


    DOI: 10.1520/D5299-99R12E01

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