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Hays County commissioners rescind road permits for Permian Highway Pipeline after groundwater pollution

The motion was made to prevent a similar occurrence that polluted wells in Blanco County.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — The Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday voted to rescind County road permits allowing Kinder Morgan to cut through and drill beneath roads while constructing the Permian Highway Pipeline.

Lon Shell, Precinct 3 Commissioner, said his motion was made to prevent a similar occurrence that polluted groundwater wells in the neighboring Blanco County. Horizontal drilling damaged karst features, causing wells to be contaminated with drilling fluid.

“My concern is especially for western Hays County because, if karst features were impacted by boring, it could take significant rainfall before contaminants are noticed in our groundwater,” Shell said. “I believe the pipeline company needs to better understand where various karst features are in order to protect our natural resources.”

The motion requires the permits to be rescinded until the company complies with the Texas Railroad Commission's Notice of Violation for the damages in Blanco County and provides a plan that will prevent further impact to ground and surface water. 

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Shell also asked Kinder Morgan to provide a detailed geology report for each proposed road crossing in Hays County to determine whether the site is underlain by karst.

Additionally, the court directed County staff to work on a plan outlining criteria for Kinder Morgan to follow so that it would be aware in advance of the County's requirements. Shell said that plan could require the use of ground-penetrating radar that would show where to avoid karst features, as well as mapping of groundwater wells in a one- or two-mile radius.

Because Kinder Morgan is already working in the county, Shell directed the transportation department staff to visit the site to give notice of the revoked permits.

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