Concerns about the drilling of injection wells topped Thursday Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District's Meeting.

Various board members and concerned citizens addressed the subject.

General Manager Joe Cooper stated that he attended a hearing in Austin regarding well permits. He said many landowners have pulled their protests of the injection wells.

Cooper asked the board's position on continuing to protest. He said if injection drilling is continued, the results could be contaminated water.

"If the drilling companies indicate that wells are protected, it would be fine; but they aren't," Cooper said.

He said that he has been working with Dale Henry, a candidate for the Railroad Commission, to learn the technology involved in drilling. Cooper said his understanding from Henry is that the wells are being inspected. But, he believes because some foundations are being poured at night, not all are being inspected.

MTGCD previously drafted a policy regarding injection well permits. The policy was sent to the Railroad Commission, demanding the commission refuse to issue permits for wells of this nature. Cooper said the district felt it appropriate to ask for intervention and for the commission to perform water tests.

And, he said letters have been directed to the commission stating the objection of the district.

Elaine Smith, chair of Worried About Water, said that the district received word that the Infinity well would comply with the water monitoring request, so the protest was withdrawn. Not all citizens withdrew their protests of the Infinity well, she said, and a hearing was held.

Smith said at the RRC hearing, Infinity had no written agreements for water monitoring with landowners.

According to Smith, of the wells to be offered agreements, two were not even indicated on the site map.

Smith said a redraft of the letter concerning water monitoring should have been submitted to the RRC for the permit prior to the district's protest being withdrawn. She presented proposed changes for the letter, which is to be reviewed and discussed at the next board meeting.

Erath county landowner Wes Biglan said, "No written permission from landowners to drill injection wells has been obtained." He said that his concern is that numerous people will be affected if the wells become contaminated and water lost. It could open the door for suits if drilling of injection wells is not stopped.

Cooper said that wells within a one-mile radius are supposed to be routinely tested and more appropriate sites than ones proposed are being researched.

Board member Jerry Fronterhouse said that he was concerned with all the open wells on properties that need to be capped.

Cooper said that the recent advertising campaign brought positive results. He said there have been more calls than last year for wells to be plugged.

Cooper said that Genuine Auto Parts' MSD request is a concern. MTGCD has asked for well site locations within a five-mile radius of the property. He said that all citizens should attend the first public hearing concerning the request on Nov. 6 during the Stephenville City Council meeting.

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or 254 - 965-3124, ext 229.