As a new homeowner, I can tell you that things aren't always as simple as they appear. I started thinking about it a few years ago, and I realized that there were some serious problems with our plumbing system. We had issues with drains working correctly and toilets flushing like they should, so I started focusing more heavily on understanding the basics of our plumbing system. Within a few short months the entire system was operating more fluidly because of a few changes that I made, so I wanted to create a blog all about my journey. Check out these articles to learn more about the plumbing basics.
Homeowners buying land usually have to deal with digging a new well or inspecting the one that's currently in use. Occasionally, they have to deal with finding an apparently old, out-of-service well on the land that could pose a hazard to humans and animals. These old well openings need to be sealed up, even if they are in the middle of nowhere, and even if the opening leads to a different water source than the one you're using. Remember that just because you're buying land in a rural area doesn't mean that no one will ever go near that old opening, and you are much better off closing it out of caution than finding out the hard way that someone has gotten hurt.
The most obvious problem with leaving an open well that has no pump is that it's a falling hazard. Kids and animals can become trapped, hikers can trip and injure themselves, and if the opening is in a relatively wide, clear area, the hole could potentially snag the wheels of bikes and smaller all-terrain vehicles, depending on the size of the hole. Sealing up the well hole reduces so much risk that you shouldn't really need any other motivation to take care of the problem now. You don't want to deal with injuries or liability lawsuits stemming from an open hole on your property.
If you do need more motivation, consider water contamination. If the well leads to the underground water source that you've been using for your own official well, anything that falls into the open hole could contaminate the water supply. This includes excessive dust, agricultural runoff, trash thrown in by trespassers, dead animal carcasses, and more. If the opening leads to the water source your current well draws from, the contamination would ruin your water supply. If the opening leads to a different water supply, you could potentially face liability if the source of the contamination is traced back to the opening on your land. Even if you weren't the one who contaminated the water, if you knew about the opening and didn't seal it then those whose water supply was ruined could still cause trouble for you.
Don't attempt to seal up the well yourself. Get a water well contractor to seal the opening permanently and securely, so that no one else can open it again without more professional help. By ensuring those old wells are capped, you keep your current well in great shape and your water supply safe.