Unplugged Oil Wells May Be Polluting Groundwater

Posted in: Ground Water News, United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Photo Credit: KTEN

Article courtesy of Rebecca Lex | July 23, 2015 | KTEN | Shared as educational material

POTTSBORO, TX– Unplugged oil wells in our area are now grabbing the attention of water conversation groups after they discovered oil could be leaking into our groundwater.

Tonight the Red River Groundwater Conservation District decided to take action against these unplugged wells.

They plan to send a letter to the Railroad Commission about the issue. Their main goal is find out how much of a hazard these wells are.

The General Manager of the Red River Groundwater Conservation District said for now he’s focusing on two abandoned and unplugged wells in Grayson County.

“The water in the wells is at or above the usable water quality level. So there is potential there for contamination to groundwater,” General Manager Drew Satterwhite said.

As of right now, the district doesn’t know for sure if the water is being contaminated.

“We don’t know the condition of the casings or anything like that, nor do we any regulatory authority over that. But it is a concern for us because the groundwater is a concern for us,” Satterwhite said.

But with their concern, they said a letter to the Railroad Commission of Texas is their first step towards change.

“So we figured we’d give it a shot,” Satterwhite said.

Reports show there are two of these wells in Grayson County and one in Cooke County. Thursday we found one of those wells in Pottsboro just off highway 289.

“We just need to protect our water. God put it there but it could run out one day,” Karen Faulkner who lives in Pottsboro said.

People who live off the highway said the oil well north of Pottsboro sits in this field.

The district isn’t the only one worried about the groundwater. Others in Grayson County said they share the concern.

“Potential major problem if something is not done with the seepage,” Howard Starr said.

They said if oil is leaking into the area’s groundwater those wells should be plugged as soon as possible.

“I think eventually you’re going to have to or you’re going to have to stop the oil from getting into the water somehow,” Bruce Marsico said.

With the possibility of this oil pollution and other environmental issues some people said it could affect their health.

“That is a direct link to the potential of our carcinogenic issue,” Starr said.

Again, the district doesn’t know if groundwater is being polluted. They’re still trying to figure that out.

But hopes to have success with their letter to the Railroad Commission to find out if their water is in any danger.

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