Study of the issue began following a number of earthquakes near Cleburne a couple years ago that were assumed by the public to be the result of the oil and gas industry, according to Patterson, who said the district is providing information such as the depth of ground water wells and aquifer layers to track the possible effect of fracking and injection wells.
“We don’t have the authority to actually do anything except supply some science to the railroad commission and to TCEQ,” Patterson added.
The district deals almost daily with the railroad commission on injection well applications, Patterson said.
“Even though it’s not within our authority, they have listened to a lot of our concerns and we have an oil and gas consultant that tells us when they make an application for an injection well. We go over the depths, we go over the pressures, we go over the completion process, all of those things to determine if it looks like there is a question of it creating a problem for groundwater. We’ve been doing that for a number of years now.”
“When you present some good information to the applicants, a lot of times, they’ll revise the applications and move on,” Patterson said. “That’s been the case in every situation so far. So we’re watching that closely, and, hopefully, we’ll have enough good science to present to the railroad commission by the midpoint of next year that we hope we’ll get some new rules proposed.”