Supoj Jermsawasdipong, the director-general of the department, responded to a report from the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) that eight artesian wells at eight schools in Rayong had not been filled in although his department had drawn funds for the task.
Mr Supoj said PACC officials, police and soldiers had surveyed the artesian wells in Nikhom Phatthana, Ban Khai and Muang Rayong districts without informing his department or letting his staff take part in their survey.
He later ordered his staff to inspect the wells and they found that they had been filled in completely as planned.
Mr Supoj also said he took criminal and disciplinary action against two subordinates who had filled in an artesian well at Wat Nong Bon in Nikhon Phatthana instead of an assigned well at Wat Map Kha school, but reported they had completed the task assigned them.
He explained that the officials had simply agreed with the school director to keep the well for use in student education.
Mr Supoj said that there were 232,868 artesian wells nationwide and 44,271 were not used. They must be filled in to prevent contamination of underground water. From 2004 until last year, 39,385 wells were covered up, and 4,886 wells will be shut down by next April.