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Kinder Morgan Pipeline ruptures SAWS water project

Call it a case of two pipelines coming together – though not in a way either one wanted.

Contractors building Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) on May 21 punctured the Vista Ridge Pipeline, a project of the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) built to deliver water from the Carrizo Aquifer in Burleson County to thirsty Bexar County.

The puncture was described by SAWS official Steve Clouse, who was quoted in a Rivard Report story about the incident, as a “pinhole” that allowed about 60,000 gallons of water to escape.

It reportedly happened in a rural area about two and a half miles south of Uhland.

According to the SAWS web site, the water line had just become operational on May 11. Clouse told the Rivard Report that water service was not disrupted, as SAWS filled water tanks to supply customers during the
repair process, which was estimated to take a few days.

Kinder Morgan VP Allen Fore said the company is reviewing the incident “and working with the water agency as they address repairs to the line, which are underway.”

The Vista Ridge Pipeline was part of a $3.4 billion dollar deal “to initiate the delivery of almost 16.3 billion gallons of water annually from Burleson County.” The project’s 142 miles spans six counties.

When initially proposed, the water line drew opposition from groups including the Alamo Sierra Club, the
San Marcos River Foundation, the Save Our Springs Alliance and the Clean Water Action.

Kinder Morgan’s PHP has also drawn strong opposition from counties, municipalities and private landowners all along its route through the Hill Country, which they argue is too environmentally sensitive for a project of its type. The 42-inch pipeline will carry natural gas from the fields on West Texas to near Houston, much of which is destined to be exported. The route of the pipeline transverses both the Edwards and Trinity aquifers, crosses
the Blanco River twice and comes within a mile of Jacob’s Well.

Work near the first Blanco River crossing has been suspended since March 28, when crews hit a karst feature while boring under the riverbed. That sent an estimated 36,000 gallons of drilling mud and fluid into the Trinity Aquifer and fouled some nearby water wells.

Hays County then rescinded permission for the pipeline to cross county roads until the company submitted specific plans. The Commissioners Court on April 28 formalized those requirements

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