Residents quiz owners of proposed injection well near Shiner

Sonny Long

Feb. 10, 2012 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2012 at 8:11 p.m.

Jason Roberts, left center, and Zach Potts, right center, talk to residents about a proposed saltwater injection well.

Jason Roberts, left center, and Zach Potts, right center, talk to residents about a proposed saltwater injection well.

SHINER - Shirley Nagelmueller is grateful but wary.

About a dozen residents who live near a proposed injection well site about five miles from Shiner gathered at Nagelmueller's home Friday afternoon.

They heard from Jason Roberts and Zach Potts, two of the owners of Four Fountains of San Antonio that has applied with the Texas Railroad Commission for a permit to build a saltwater injection well just inside Gonzales County.

Nagelmueller acknowledged that company representatives were not obligated to meet with the group.

"We didn't know if they would show up and I appreciate that they did," she said. "I feel somewhat better than I did two hours ago, but you just wonder how much you can trust them."

Those gathered mostly asked questions of Roberts and Potts concerning the potential for contaminating their water, traffic safety near the well along busy alternate U.S. Highway 90, the impact on property values, noise and aesthetics at the proposed well.

Nagelmueller organized the meeting after receiving a notice by certified mail that the company had applied for a permit on Jan. 25.

About 15 families live within a half-mile of the proposed site.

Roberts assured them that he personally was invested in the area.

"I live in San Marcos, I grew up there. I have a place in Seguin. We're not from New York coming down here to start a business just trying to make a buck," he said. "We live here."

Addressing concerns about potential contamination of the water, Roberts said the chances are less than a chance of a million-to-one.

"There are seven layers of protection on the well," he said. "Four things would have to go wrong at the same time for the water to get contaminated."

Roberts also assured those attending that his company would do baseline water testing of private wells on adjacent properties and continue to test them on an annual basis.

Area residents said their water wells are all less than 100 feet deep and they have great drinking water.

Wendy Shreiber, the Nagelmuellers' daughter who also owns property near the well, queried Roberts and Potts on what else is in the saltwater that will be injected into the ground and on perpetual care of the well site and the private wells if the water becomes contaminated.

"Who pays for all the new wells?" she asked.

Those questions went unanswered.

Roberts said it could take up to six months for the well to come online, including two to three months of actual construction. The well plant will sit on 15 acres of the 30-acre property that Four Fountains is in the process of buying. It will sit about 450 feet from the highway.

He added that his company is negotiating with a water recycling company to possibly make the well a joint-venture to prevent as much fluid from being injected back into the formation.

Much of the discussion centered on the increase in truck traffic along a stretch of roadway that includes a hill near the entrance of the proposed well.

School bus traffic, too, in the area also concerns the residents.

"When it's foggy, you can't see anything coming over that hill," said Robert Janete.

"We came down here to hear concerns like this," Roberts said. "We're happy to look into them."

Roberts said that he will meet with the Texas Department of Transportation to discuss traffic safety issues.

Other questions included the potential affect of the injection well on the minerals in the Eagle Ford Shale formation and how that might influence possible oil wells on residents' properties.

Roberts assured them that the depth of the injection would not disturb the Eagle Ford Shale nor affect their minerals.

Roberts made a list of the residents' concerns and again assured them that he would look into them.



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