On July 10, 2020, the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District released a letter to well owners within their jurisdiction in Hays County within 5 miles of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The letter contains recommendations for well owners if they notice a change in taste, odor or appearance of their well water. In an effort to spread this important information, the letter is reprinted below.
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July 10, 2020
Hays County well owners,
The Kinder Morgan Pipeline Company is constructing a large natural gas pipeline from west to east through central Hays County that will convey 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Permian Basin to the Houston area.
The new pipeline will be buried 15-feet below grade which requires disturbing a wide swath of natural landscape across the county. The pipeline will pass directly over terrain that is highly porous and vulnerable to surface contamination. District geologists have spent 20-years surveying faults and recharge features that can act as direct conduits into the same Trinity Aquifer from which you may get your drinking water.
The Texas Railroad Commission is the regulatory agency in charge of Oil and Gas transmission. The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District has no authority to regulate pipeline routing or construction, however we are mandated to protect the resource that most of Hays County relies on for clean drinking water. In the interest of public safety, the District has developed an information packet that local well owners may refer in the event of a construction, transmission, or operations accidents.
The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District has 738 registered water wells that fall within 5-miles of the pipeline’s path. We consider those wells to be the most vulnerable to contamination in the event of a construction accident or transmission rupture. Most pipelines operate safely and without incident, but due to a March 2020 Kinder Morgan pipeline accident that occurred in Blanco County, we must take the threat of accidents seriously.
Threats to wells from pipeline construction include silt contamination from right-of-way clearing, pipeline boring, trenching, and/or and construction machinery fuel or hydraulic oil spills. Transmission threats include accidental punctures, pipeline joint failures, and operational accidents that may leak and contaminate land and drinking water sources. If the pipeline catches fire or explodes, fire suppression chemicals may be used to extinguish the flames. Those chemicals could infiltrate our highly porous geology and contribute to groundwater contamination.
Please report pipeline accidents to the Hays County Sherriff’s Department, the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District and Kinder Morgan (see numbers below). Please report well contamination to the District at (512) 858-9253. We will notify neighboring registered well owners and ask them to report changes in the quality or quantity of their well water.
If you have an unregistered well, please fill out an online registration form on the Forms page of the District website (http://haysgroundwater.com/forms/well-registration-req-exist). And, if you are unsure if your contact information is current, please email the District and we will update you in our well database — free of charge. Remember, property owners with registered wells are more likely to benefit from legal standing in a court of law.
Below is a list of emergency numbers, testing laboratories, and here is a link to the Kinder Morgan FAQ Sheet.
Charlie Flatten, General Manager
Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District
Important telephone numbers
- PLEASE Call Before You Dig!: 811
- Hays County Emergency Services (Fire, Sheriff, Ambulance): 911
- Hays County Groundwater Conservation District: (512) 858-9253 Anytime your well has a rapid change in water quality, we will inspect your well, take a water sample and test for contaminants.
- Hays County Natural Resources: (512) 393-2156
- Kinder Morgan Pipeline hotline: (866) 762-8442 If you believe that a pipeline leak has occurred, please call this Kinder Morgan Pipeline hotline immediately. Click here to download the PHP Project Frequently Asked Questions
Well Testing Laboratory Contact Information
Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District – HTGCD: Philip Webster
The District will test the water quality of your well if it shows signs of contamination. If your well water is cloudy or its taste or odor changes suddenly, please call our testing service and we will come inspect your well and take a water sample for testing.
In the event that well owners desire baseline water quality testing, the following Laboratories are equipped to handle an array of water quality tests; and with the exception of the GBRA have dedicated staff to do on-site sample gathering. All financial costs for baseline test sampling will be the responsibility of individual well owners.
Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center – EARDC: Joe Guerrero
Lower Colorado River Authority – LCRA: Jason Woods
LCRA Environmental Laboratory Services
3505 Montopolis Drive, Austin, TX 78744
Lead and copper sampling services
Guadalupe Blanco River Authority – GBRA: Jennifer Sanchez
Zara Environmental: Jeff Watson
1707 West FM 1626
Manchaca, TX 78652