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Owners urged: register wells near route of PHP pipeline

Staff Report

As construction of the Kinder Morgan Permian Highway Pipeline progresses across the Texas Hill Country, the Hays Trinity Groundwater District is urging the owners of water wells to register them.

Construction on the 430-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline is currently halted near Chimney Rock Road in Blanco County, where a karst feature was hit March 28 while a contractor was attempting the first of two required bores under the Blanco River, but continues elsewhere.

The karst fracture fouled nearby drinking water wells and the HTGCD issued a warning to other well-owners located within five miles of the pipeline’s path. Kinder Morgan is still developing a protocol for mitigation, and says it is working with landowners in the area.

“We consider those wells (within a five-mile radius) to be the most vulnerable to contamination in the event of a construction accident or transmission rupture,” the HTGCD spokesperson said. But because of the earlier breach “we must take the threat of accidents seriously.”

The organization said threats during construction include “silt contamination from right-of-way clearing, pipeline boring, trenching and/or construction machinery fuel or hydraulic oil spills.”

Once the pipeline starts transmitting natural gas, the threats consists of “accidental punctures, pipeline joint failures and operational accident that may leak and contaminate land and drinking water sources.”

Well registration consists of filling out a form on the website of the HTGCD. Once that is done, the well is placed in a database free of charge.

The HTGCD says that well owners with registered wells may have the advantage of legal standing in a court of law.

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