29 Jan YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
“SOMETIMES ONE HAS TO TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITIES
THAT WEREN’T THOSE ONE IMAGINED.”
Do you own land? Is there an old homestead on it? Are you aware of any old abandoned wells on it? There is a serious responsibility that you have if you do. You must and I stress MUST secure or fill in the well. It is not only an environmental hazard but it can be life threatening.
We have all seen the news stories when a child has fallen into a well and the efforts that a whole community goes through to rescue the child. I doubt if anyone of you would want this happening on your property. But there are also other hazards that you should keep in mind that would motivate you to close these wells up permanently.
I am going to tell you an encapsulated story from the ALVA REVIEW-COURIER/NEWSGRAM written by Jim Feist from Edmund Oklahoma. This story takes place on a 5 generation farm near Byron Oklahoma.
Feist has leased the land for hunting for many years. The tract is about 1600 acres in size and since 1893 the family added to the original homestead, as the family grew there were several old homestead sites on the property. Even though Feist has leased the land and hunted it for 23 years there was a hazard there that no one knew about.
Two years ago while hunting the land his beloved German Short-hair Pointer disappeared. Efforts were made for several weeks to find the lost dog. He was never found. This season with a new young dog the group was hunting and all of a sudden the dog fell out of site. Had it not been witnessed the same thing may have happened that happened two years ago. There was a hand dug bricked in well that no one knew was on the property. The dog was struggling to stay afloat.
Through much struggle and futile efforts to save the dog a call was placed to 911 and the Amorita/Byron fire departments responded. The short of the story is that the dog was saved. The sad part is that the well stunk terribly from all the dead and decayed animals that were caught in the death trap over the years.
Evidence points to the fact that this is what happened to the dog two years earlier. Even without knowing that the well was there and a hazard the land owner bears the responsibility to make his property safe. Not for legal reasons but that it is the right thing to do.
Things could have taken a worse turn if it was a kid or anyone else that may have fallen into the forgotten well. If you have an old well it is your responsibility to render it safe and preferably fill it in.
In Kansas the Kansas Farm Bureau has a program that can assist you in filling in old wells. I am sure that other states also have programs to help with plugging old wells. Besides the safety concern an old well is a direct drain for contaminants into the water table.
It is your responsibility whether you know it or not.