Report: Water leaking from Edwards Aquifer

Defenders inve­stigate problems with Medina well

MEDINA COUNTY, Texas - A man paying to have a water well drilled in Medina County hit nothing but trouble at a cost of more than $20,000.

He asked the Defenders to investigate the well-digger and to find out about another issue: Why the Edwards Aquifer Authority was letting the well leak water during a drought.

Levi McKenzie wanted a rural oasis for his growing family so he bought land near Rio Medina.

Pipe Creek Water Well quoted him $12,000 for a well but then things went wrong, he said.

"(The well) ended up being 1,107 feet and about $24,000,” McKenzie said. “So double the cost, double the depth."

The well-digger mistakenly hit the Edwards Aquifer and McKenzie said he was told that Edwards water was leaking out and into another formation in the middle of a drought. And he said the chemical composition of his water was bad.

Edwards Aquifer Authority Interim General Manager Roland Ruiz said his crews then went to investigate.

"If we are losing water or if water is infiltrating that well from another source, then we do have an issue," Ruiz said.

But Ruiz said the EAA did not intervene because McKenzie was still having a dispute with the well-digger.

McKenzie said Pipe Creek told him the cost of the well would be refunded but that McKenzie would have to pay to have it plugged.

"I don't see why I should be held accountable for a licensed driller doing an improper job on my property," McKenzie said.

His wife, Michelle, said life has been rough there without the kind of water they want.

"It shouldn't happen now,” said Michelle McKenzie. “I mean there should be people in place to protect us."

Rae Powell, general manager of Pipe Creek Water Well, said land-owners have to bear some of the risks of drilling.

"There's obviously no guarantees when you drill a water well," Powell said.

But he agreed to help in this case.

“What we'd like to do for Mr. McKenzie is obviously plug the well and refund his money,” Powell said, agreeing to plug the well for free. “I'll plug it at no cost. I understand he's had a lot of problems and as a favor to Mr. McKenzie I'll do that.”

That gets the McKenzies at least back to Square 1.

Meanwhile, the EAA advises property owners to always hire a licensed driller, make sure they are familiar with the authority's rules and call with any questions.

Pipe Creek also wants to remind land-owners that the state of Texas grants that the well-digger is not responsible for the quantity or quality of the water.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.


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