Stories abound about orphan wells, which are abandoned gas and oil wells that are no longer active. These wells have become a real problem because they're appearing all over the place. It can be expensive to officially close up a well, but that cost is worth it because not closing the well may lead to worse consequences that are even more expensive to remedy. Many companies simply abandon the wells, but your company can get a public-relations boost by showing you're willing to actually close up the wells to protect the land and people around them.

They Are Eyesores

The wells are eyesores. Corroding equipment, ghost-town buildings dotting the landscape, trash from deteriorating pumps – orphan wells are, unfortunately, not just little holes in the ground. Even if a well is no longer financially feasible to keep in operation, you don't want to walk away and leave trash behind. Take a couple of days and remove everything not nailed down, and then have the well sealed. By removing the equipment and capping the well, you help the land start to recover. Vegetation can fill in the spots where buildings and equipment used to be, and people in the area don't have to look at decaying buildings.

They Can Leak Even When Inactive

Forgetting about the cosmetic issues for the moment, the real risk is in the way the well can leak even though it isn't active anymore. Methane leaks are a huge risk, as methane is one of the major components of the greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change. So many abandoned wells are leaking methane that it might seem like plugging up one won't help, but each one counts. If you have more than one well that you're abandoning, you'd be preventing the release of a lot of methane if you took the time and spent the money to close up all of those wells.

Broken Parts Contribute to Groundwater and Soil Pollution

Leaking gas and oil, rusting metal, corroding motors that leak fluids – orphan wells can be a disaster for soil and groundwater, often leading to a lot of pollution flowing into groundwater supplies and making the soil unsafe to grow anything in. If you leave the well and its surroundings as is, then the resulting pollution will cost a lot to clean up, more than what just capping the well and removing everything else would have cost.

Sometimes spending money upfront is the best way to save both money and reputation in the long run. Speak to services that plug up these wells about the most economical options available that will still be effective. Orphan well abandonment services are available to you from local experts.