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Crews cleanup abandoned well sites for landowners across Oklahoma

Posted at 12:39 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 14:45:08-04

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — An Oklahoma group is fixing old and abandoned well sites across the state to restore land to its former glory

For 25 years, the Oklahoma energy resources board has restored old oil well sites like taking a washed out ravine, and turning it into a pond, bringing it back to life.

The board was created in 1993 at the request of the booming industry.

Most of the restoration projects are from the 1900s to the 1940s.

During that time, no one was responsible for the cleanup of the sites like they are today.

The projects are voluntarily funded by one-tenth of 1 percent of the sales of oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners.

One Bartlesville landowner has had several sites restored by the board.

“They reshaped it and made a really nice pond and they’ve built several ponds for us and we’ve reclaimed several areas," said Robert Hughes.

“Landowners want it to be back into productivity. They want it to look like it was before the oil and gas industry came here and wells that have been drilled back in the teens, 20s and 30s," Mindy Stitt, Executive Director of Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, said. "Those operators just up and left. Didn’t really think too much about the environment.”

Since the program kicked off, 17,000 orphaned or abandoned well sites have been cleaned, with a cost totaling $120 million.

Stitt said the board cleans up about 700 sites a year.

If you're a landowner interested in having your land restored, click here.

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