Disposal well fight moves to Victoria City Council

By Brian M. Cuaron - BCUARON@VICAD.COM
Sept. 18, 2011 at 4:18 a.m.

Rural residents fighting a planned disposal, or injection well, plan to visit the Victoria City Council on Tuesday.

The Texas Railroad Commission granted a disposal or injection well permit to American Disposal Services on June 2. The well would be installed near Farm-to-Market Road 1685 and Loop 463.

The well would inject non-hazardous waste from oil and gas production at a depth between 2,700 to 3,100 feet, said J.D. Ivey, American Disposal president. He added that injection wells are near water sources across Texas.

Victoria County residents near the site depend on private water wells.

Residents opposed to the well, who are calling themselves Citizens Against the Dump, sent a petition against the well to the railroad commission.

The citizens group wrote in a letter to the state commission that the site, which would have about 50 trucks visit daily, shouldn't be near homes. The letter also said the well posed a contamination danger to water sources.

The county's commissioners court sent a letter last Monday to the state asking that appeals be heard against the injection well permit and a still pending, necessary drilling well permit.

Ron Knippa, spokesman for the citizens group, verified members would visit the council.

The well would be outside Victoria, but near its water sources of the Guadalupe River and water reservoirs.

In a Sept. 16 letter to the railroad commission, Jerry James, Victoria director of environmental services, raised concerns about the well's proximity to the Guadalupe River. He noted the well would go through the Gulf Coast Aquifer, the city's only water source during some drought periods.

Ivey said he has never encountered this much resistance. He does not plan to attend the council meeting because he is recovering from foot surgery.

Mayor Will Armstrong said he stood by the letter's comments.

Mayor Pro Tem Paul Polasek said he was inclined to support the citizens group, but wanted to learn more about how much the well threatened water sources.

Yet, Polasek and Councilman Tom Halepaska questioned how much Victoria could oppose the well, since the railroad commission issues the permits.

The rest of council said they supported the group because of the planned well's proximity to Victoria water sources.

"There is no way I'm jeopardizing our water supply to our city or our county," Councilman Joe Truman said.

Injection well's safety provisions

To install the well, American Disposal will drill a 10 and -inch pipe 2,050 feet below the surface through a 14 and -inch hole, Ivey said.

Workers would then pump cement to the bottom of the pipe, Ivey said. The cement would then come back up to the surface, surrounding the 10 and -inch pipe.

The same process would occur with a 7-inch pipe that would go through the 10 and -inch pipe. The smaller pipe would be drilled 3,200 feet below the surface.

A 3 and -inch pipe would be used for the waste fluids to go through, Ivey said. An annual pressure test observed by the Railroad Commission would check for leaks in the pipe.

Ivey said his company also does a daily pressure test.

"It's like steel-door secure," he explained.



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