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Proposed disposal well raises concerns
STOCKDALE -- With the ongoing Eagle Ford shale oil and gas exploration in South Texas, an increase in the number of oil and gas waste disposal wells also has been noted, with residents requesting assistance from their respective city or county officials to address environmental concerns.
Odelle Zarsky addressed the Stockdale City Council July 10, asking for city representation at the July 18 hearing of the Texas Railroad Commission. Zarsky voiced concerns about a proposed new well located 2.3 miles north of Stockdale on C.R. 417. According to Coastal Plains Disposal’s permit, the company plans to inject salt water or other oil and gas waste in the “subsurface depth interval from 5,400 to 7,000 feet.”
According to Zarsky, 78 percent of disposal well permits are approved by the railroad commission.
Key concerns Zarsky raised include:
•Possible contamination of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer that supplies the city of Stockdale and Sunko Water Supply Corp.
•Location of pits. If flooding occurs, runoff could go into the Cibolo Creek, affecting Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved flood plains and the watersheds supplying the San Antonio River Authority area.
•Transportation. Coastal Plains’ fleet line currently consists of 140 trucks, with plans to add an additional 100 trucks, just for disposal purposes. Due to ingress concerns, trucks must enter C.R. 417 from U.S. 87, increasing traffic on this highway.
•Devaluation of property. If the water supply is contaminated, Zarsky said, property in the area could be devalued by $1,000 to $2,000 per acre.
Diane Savage, a member of the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District, also expressed concerns. She asked for the disposal companies to use the best technology available to protect the environment.
The council approved for City Manager Banks Akin and Public Works Director David Tillery to attend the July 18 hearing on behalf of the city to express the community’s concerns.
In yet another area-wide safety issue, the council heard a presentation by Stockdale Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director David Rice regarding the formation of Emergency Services District No. 3.
The council approved for the city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction to be included in the proposed ESD. See page 1A for more on this.
Since the ESD tax and an increase in the local sales and use tax were being projected in the same time frame, the latter tax died due to a lack of a motion.
City Manager Banks Akin said the proposed Emergency Services District No. 3 and the local sales and use tax are important, but sided with Mayor Johnny Stahl, who said that approximately $50,000 -- $1,000 monthly transferred from four city accounts (general and three utility accounts) -- is set aside annually for road improvement. This second tax issue -- from an increase in local sales and use tax -- could generate an additional $35,000 annually.
The council also:
•Appointed the following to the city’s Board of Adjustments: Rene Dillingham, Polly Stryker, and Jesse Vela Jr., each for a two-year term; and Sal Urrabazo and Mauro Monita for a one-year term each.
•Approved the rezoning of 102 W. Free Timber from residential single family to commercial property to establish a retail boutique.
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