What kind of Victoria neighbor will ADS be?

Sept. 3, 2011 at 4:03 a.m.

American Disposal Services is proceeding to build an oil and gas waste dump adjacent to the rural Victoria property where I grew up, and where my family and many of their longtime friends still live.

This dump will be located within 150 yards of existing homes. Allow me to put a face on the community that resides along the Lower Mission Valley Road, or Farm-to-Market Road 1685:

My granddad, a World War II veteran, purchased land along Lower Mission Valley Road in the early 1960s and built a home where he and my grandmother lived for the rest of their lives. My mom and dad also built our home next door, and raised their family there. I grew up in a community of families who continue to reside there.

This is their community, and they don't plan to relocate. In some cases, their children now reside in the immediate area.

This area is not an industrial park, but a rural community, with many homes in existence for 50-plus years. School buses pick up children and travel this very same road where large ADS trucks will also travel night and day, if the site is approved.

Many of these families have water wells that are 30 years old, or older. These families face the real risk of not only having their water supply drained dry by ADS, but the real possibility of their water supply being polluted, as well.

This will be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation, with large trucks coming and going around the clock. They will bury oilfield waste trucked in from outside Victoria County. This operation will bring with it bright lights, loud noise, strong odors, large trucks and significant water usage. If this waste is not handled with care, and disposed of properly, the site also carries the very real risk of contamination not only to nearby existing water wells, but to the Guadalupe River as well. The Guadalupe River is located not far from the proposed dump site, and is the source of Victoria's water supply.

ADS should listen to the concerns of the community in which it proposes to do business. ADS should also have a strong sense of corporate responsibility to the communities where it does business. Unfortunately, it seems that ADS has adopted the attitude of "big bully" on the block, as it continues to move forward with its plans, with no sense of concern - or respect - for the families who live along the Lower Mission Valley Road.

I understand a representative of ADS stated at a local meeting with the public that if a water permit for which it applied was not granted, then they would simply truck in the 20 million gallons of water required yearly for their daily operations. This would be quite costly, and it seems that if ADS can afford to bring in their own water supply, then ADS can also afford to travel farther down the road to a different site, where existing homes are not located next door to their dump.

The longtime families who reside on and around the Lower Mission Valley Road deserve better neighbors than ADS. Everyone does.

ADS' proposal should be viewed as a real quality-of-life issue for all of Victoria. If this is an issue of concern for you, I urge you to write the Texas Railroad Commission, which granted the permit, without physically viewing the site or hearing concerns from the community; the Victoria County Groundwater Conservation District, which is currently reviewing ADS' water permit application; state Rep. Geanie Morrison; and state Sen. Glenn Hegar as well other local elected officials.

They all have a job to do to protect the citizens in Victoria County, as well as all citizens they were elected to represent.

The citizens in Victoria should be kept informed on the latest developments regarding this proposed dump site, and what is being done to ensure the well-being and safety of all its citizens.

Lisa Welch grew up in Victoria, attended Victoria College and now resides in Georgetown. All of her family continues to live in Victoria along Farm-to-Market Road 1685.



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