Q: What does the abandonment process involve?

A: A typical process for abandonment is described below. The exact amount of time the process takes will vary with each site.

Steps during the Abandonment process:

  • Step 1 – Landowner or registered occupant receives an information package from OWA representatives indicating that there is a well or facility on their property that has been assigned to the OWA for decommissioning and/or reclamation. The information package includes information about the OWA, the well or facility site, a landowner feedback form and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • Step 2 – If surface payments are outstanding, it is important that the landowner apply to the Surface Rights Board to receive these payments. While processing can take some time, the payments will continue until the site receives a reclamation certificate.  More information can be found here.
  • Step 3 – OWA representative calls to review the OWA information package with the landowner/occupant approximately 2 weeks after packages are mailed out.
  • Step 4 – The OWA will schedule a site inspection, pending weather and landowner/occupant operations to assess the condition and safety of the site. Inspections generally occur within one year of the site being assigned to the OWA.
  • Step 5 – After inspection, the OWA may schedule weed control or site maintenance and surface cleanup to ensure safe-keeping. If required, weed control will continue at the site until final reclamation is achieved at no cost to the landowner/occupant.
  • Step 6 – Next, the OWA abandonment and decommissioning team will conduct decommissioning of the well and/or surface facilities. These activities are based on weather conditions, project load, and landowner scheduling.  As much as possible, the OWA aims to reduce the disruption to landowners and occupants while aiming to complete abandonment operations within 3 years.
  • Step 7 – The environmental team will conduct various assessments on the site to determine the steps required prior to reclamation. The assessments may include, but are not limited to, phone calls and site visits with the landowner/occupants to determine site history, desktop reviews of the site, and environmental drilling to assess soil conditions.
  • Step 8 – Pending the results of the environmental assessments, either remediation of the site will begin, or the site may proceed to reclamation.
  • Step 9 – After the site has passed all the environmental assessments the OWA will apply for reclamation certification for the site.