Frio County Locals Worried about Eagle Ford Disposal Wells Contaminating Groundwater

Local residents in Frio County, Texas have expressed concerns about the possibility of Eagle Ford disposal wells contaminating their groundwater, so much so that Frio County Commissioners recently held a town hall meeting in Dilley to discuss the injection wells. The main issue, residents said, was awareness.

With only a single groundwater source for Dilley, the fear of fracking waste from Eagle Ford drilling wells contaminating the city’s water supply has grown. County officials asked Eagle Ford waste disposal companies to educate the public during the July 11 special called meeting about injection wells and explain how the wells will not contaminate Dilley’s only water source.

“Up to now, I have not been told of a single water source that has ever been contaminated,” Dilley City Administrator Noel Perez said.

However, “occasionally it happens,” Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick recently said. According to Craddick, wastewater from a Texas disposal well escaped into nearby groundwater, contaminating the Pecos River Cenozoic Alluvium aquifer in 2005.

According to a Scientific American report, “Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground beneath Our Feet?,” records show disposal wells in the U.S. have “repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation’s drinking water.”

Groundwater contamination is not the only danger posed by disposal wells. Complaints to the Texas Railroad Commission have also included trees and vegetation killed by wastewater spills from leaky pumps, storage pits and storage tanks. A flood of 18 wheeler trucks transporting equipment, product and waste to and from drilling sites has significantly increased the number of traffic accidents. And, scientists have linked disposal wells in the North Texas Barnett Shale drilling areas to earthquakes. Explosions have also occurred at disposal sites, including at one in Frio County in January 2012. A welder’s spark ignited oil vapors, causing the blast that injured three workers near Pearsall, Frio’s county seat.

Although Frio County has the fewest number of oil wells among Eagle Ford counties, it has the most disposal wells accepting fracking waste water. According to news reports, the amount of waste water injected into disposal wells in Frio County increased from 620,190 barrels in 2010 to more than 10 million barrels in 2012. County officials recently passed a resolution opposing any new disposal wells, but the county already has 20 active disposal wells and seven more wells with permits pending.

Experienced Legal Help for Environmental Claims

If you believe disposal wells are contaminating your groundwater or land, contact an attorney at The Callahan Law Firm now to discuss your legal options without obligation or charge. Our experienced Texas environmental claims lawyers handle a wide range of cases involving contamination issues on a contingency basis throughout the state.