Goliad residents worried about water from proposed waste site

Goliad County homeowners say location and elevation threatens wells in county

SAN ANTONIO – In the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale is Nordheim, Texas, home to a proposed fracking solid waste site.

The proximity to the town school has stirred opposition, but there is also opposition from Goliad County because they share the same aquifer.

Less than half a mile from Main Street in Nordheim is an open tract of land where trucks from all over the Eagle Ford Shale may soon come to dump their fracking solid waste.

While the Petro Waste site may not be a welcome one for nearby residents, CEO George Wommack said it makes sense logistically, given much of the drilling activity happens nearby.

Goliad County Groundwater Conservation District President, Raulie Irwin said the location is precisely the problem.

"Where they're located is right at the very edge of the top of the aquifer so it's the recharge zone," Irwin said.

Wommack said that is simply not true.

"That's not correct. We did extensive boring to see that there's 30 feet or more of extensive fat clay barrier between our operations and the groundwater," Wommack said.

Irwin explained the topography is such that the water will run downhill. He worries about runoff not being contained should the pits overflow.

"If you had some rain event that far exceeded anything historically that we've ever seen then you simply start pumping the water out of there and taking it off the site," Wommack said.

Irwin fears whether or not there is overflow, there could be leaching into the ground from the site, which could threaten the well water of Goliad County.

"There's a certain amount of leaking that's occurring from the top liner into the leak detection system. Now there's a secondary liner below that, so it's just leaking into the leak detection system.

In the end if the permit is not denied, Irwin hopes for tighter regulation of the Petro Waste site and greater awareness of operations.

The Railroad Commissioners declined to comment for the story, explaining closing arguments for the hearing held in September have just been submitted.

A decision is not expected before 2015.