State denies Nordheim disposal well permit request

Sonny Long

July 3, 2013 at 2:03 a.m.
Updated July 4, 2013 at 2:04 a.m.

Nordheim Mayor Kathy Payne may have never been more happy to receive a letter in her life.

"Let's just say, I'm smiling. I'm very pleased," said Payne after getting notification from the Railroad Commission of Texas that a permit to build a oil disposal facility near Nordheim had been denied.

The letter read, in part, "Because a permit for the proposed facility may cause or allow pollution to surface or subsurface waters and because this facility has been protested, your application cannot be administratively approved."

Payne, on behalf of Nordheim, had protested construction of the plant because of its proximity on Hohn Road, only 1/4 of a mile away from the city.

Several adjacent landowners and other concerned residents also filed letters of protest with the Railroad Commission.

The letter to Pyote Reclamation Systems indicated that an amended application will be considered if certain concerns are addressed.

"They can reapply, of course," Payne said. "But they have a lot of things they have to fix."

Forty things, in fact, according to the June 25 letter sent to everyone who filed a formal protest against the plant.

Two of the findings of the Railroad Commission's Technical Permitting Section of the Oil and Gas Division have to be "comprehensively addressed," and 38 have to be "clarified" before the application can be reconsidered.

Landowner Paul Baumann is also pleased with the initial permit denial.

"It sounds good so far," said Baumann, whose rental property, its water well and the land where the plant would be located share a fence line.

"I don't see how they can do everything they have to do. It's a good first step."

Ramona Nye, Railroad Commission spokeswoman, said the company now has a couple of options.

"The applicant can amend their application to address staff issues, and staff would re-evaluate the amended application," she said.

Or the company could decide not to amend the application to address staff issues and proceed to a hearing.

The applicant must provide the information to complete the application before it can proceed to a hearing.

If the staff does not receive a response within 45 days, Nye's office will send a firm deadline for response in a second letter.

Kelly Beck, a representative of Daniel B. Stephens & Associates, the consulting and engineering firm for Pyote Reclamation Systems, said the company will respond to the Railroad Commission within 30 days.



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