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Section A: General News


Editorial: Diffusing the disposal well dust




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Guest Editorial
June 20, 2012 | 1,542 views | 5 comments

By Keith Johanson

As a longtime Wilson County resident and member of the oil and gas industry, I’m deeply concerned to see and hear such misinformation decrying the development of an oil and gas disposal well in our county. While questions regarding development are certainly valid (and necessary), it’s time to cut through some of the rhetoric and to understand the facts.

The fact is, oil and gas wells produce more than just oil and gas. They also produce saltwater, and these fluids are required by law to be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), under national guidelines and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, has ensured the safety of our state’s 50,000-plus disposal wells for more than 30 years.

All Texas injection wells are thoroughly investigated and vetted by the RRC, which examines every aspect of development, from geological formations to water table integrity. RRC also requires developers to give public notice of their application and a public hearing on the application. In fact, RRC will hold a hearing July 7 for interested parties to voice their opinion about the proposed Wilson County well.

Make no mistake, I want and insist that our underground aquifers be protected in this case and in all cases. In this case, multiple protection mechanisms are employed to safeguard water supplies, and state and federal regulations require a disposal well to be surrounded on all sides by layers of impermeable rock. Water tables are further protected by triple layers of concrete and steel piping leading to and from the surface, and, according to Railroad Commission data, there are no known instances of ongoing groundwater contamination as a result of disposal activities.

Much has also been made of disposal wells’ perceived role in increased seismic activity -- earthquakes. The RRC and the industry have taken multiple steps to mitigate these events by limiting well-pressure thresholds --maximum injection well pressure is limited to a half-pound per square foot --assessing seismic susceptibility, and monitoring seismic activity at well sites.

Finally, it’s essential to discuss security at injection site surface facilities. Regulations mandate all storage and pretreatment facilities must be constructed of steel, concrete, or fiberglass, and all surface facilities are subject to round-the-clock security monitoring.

Neighbors, the opportunity to ensure safe and responsible waste disposal, and to contribute to our nation’s energy independence is not to be taken lightly. I urge you to look past the recent spate of rhetoric and consider the facts before opposing development of disposal facilities in Wilson County.

Keith Johanson is a resident and business owner in the La Vernia community.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
frustrated citizen  
wilson county  
June 26, 2012 3:40pm
 
Really? This letter is BS! Their are more people opposed to this than for it! Just go ask anyone who lives on Kothmann Rd, about them pushing something under the table. I sincerely hope this doesn't get pushed under the table. ... More ›

 
Michele Budde  
La Vernia, TX  
June 22, 2012 10:38am
 
If you want the truth research it yourself..don't depend on people working in the field to give it to you. http://www.propublica.org/article/injection-wells-the-poison-beneath-us/single We have found numerous OPEN wellheads ... More ›

 
Eat Local  
TX farm  
June 21, 2012 8:48pm
 
If it is just saltwater then why not just put a pipeline to the ocean? Oh wait, it is more than that, it is toxic chemicals also. As posted on http://www.texassharon.com/ Abrahm Lustgarten just released a four part investigative ... More ›

 
Patrick L Meyer  
La Vernia, TX  
June 20, 2012 5:54pm
 
I am opposed to the permit being issued to the applicant, because I think that this company has demonstrated incredibly poor judgement from the very outset. Using a 20 year old casing string for a high volume waste disposal ... More ›

 
same ole sh*t  
floresville  
June 20, 2012 10:14am
 
keith i will be the first to say all you care about is filling your pockets with cash no matter what, drill the well in your back yard and fill it up with quote saltwater...............

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