Refugio resident concerned over dry creek congestion

June 29, 2011 at 1:29 a.m.

REFUGIO - Drivers on U.S. Highway 77 heading south into Refugio might notice something different in the skyline.

Just north of the city is the ongoing construction of an EOG Resources plant, which will be used for fracturing sand for use in oil and gas drilling.

The industrial business is a boom for the city and county's economy, but resident Rene Garza is worried about the plant's drainage plans, which is to send waste into Dry Creek.

Garza also worries about the plant's environmental impact.

"I've been talking about this for five years," said Garza, who has lived on Upton Street for 46 years. "It's a negligence of the county."

Garza's home is about 125 yards from the creek, which is filled with debris. At times of heavy rain, the creek becomes easily flooded and inches closer to his house, he said.

The creek runs outside the city limits close to the railroad.

Garza wants the county to take care of the problem and to conduct a town hall meeting about the EOG plant, which Garza said wasn't really talked much about with the city residents.

The plan is to have a workshop sometime next week about the Dry Creek problem, said Precinct 4. Commissioner Rod Bernal.

"The county is in charge of it. It's a flooding problem," he said. "It definitely needs to be cleaned out."

The creek is filled with trees, brush and other debris and now that the EOG plant has added drainage pipes into the creek.

The county has grant money to clean up most of the creek, but not enough to complete the entire project, Bernal said.

This will also be talked about at the meeting, he said.

About five years ago, Refugio received about eight inches of rain and the creek flooded nearly to Garza's neighborhood. With this in mind, the plant continuously draining into Dry Creek is a big concern, Garza said.

Then, there is a concern about the impact the plant will have on the residents and the wildlife.

The plant site was designed to not impact the Dry Creek and in constructing the plant, EOG Resources was mindful of the creek bed, read a e-mail statement by K. Leonard, public relations with EOG Resources.

"The community can also be assured that the company does not plan to discharge by-products from the plant into the creek bed," the statement read.

Still, there has not been a town hall meeting on the plant and one has not been planned yet to address any concerns, Bernal said.

"It's just too close to town," Garza said. "Until we find out more, it's something to worry about."



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