The effluent contained drilling fluids and organic compounds, he said, which were dumped into the inadequately plugged wells when drilling was completed.
“So we’re going to have this problem all over the county,” Commissioner Dusty Renfro pointed out.
“There’s at least a possibility,” Patterson said. “Legislature has seen the issues arise, and they have tried to remedy that in this past session. They have improved the cementing casing process, so these don’t happen anymore. It’s a very long-term solution.”
Riley said that no county resident is guaranteed water, whether they live in rural or urban areas.
“I say that because even if someone buys a house in town, they don’t know if they’re going to have water or not. Some systems in this county literally run out in July and August.
“So, I don’t think we can solve it one subdivision at a time. I am concerned about requiring them [developers] to spend that kind of money, because we all have some individual responsibility.”
Renfro said it becomes a private property rights issue, “so if government tells me I have to spend $100,000 to do a study, it doesn’t sit right with me.”
“It’s a lot cheaper to drill a well and see if there is water than doing a $100,000 study,” he said. “What’s included in these studies?”
Patterson said two monitoring wells are drilled, and hydro-geological studies are conducted to show what the drawdown will be in a 30-year period.
“Historically what have we done?” Commissioner Larry Walden asked.
Forrest said the policy hasn’t been addressed since the UTGCD established recent rules and regulations, because there’s been little development. He said the court waived the groundwater requirement for the most recent subdivision.
Walden said he didn’t want to waste the developer’s money or discourage development, but also didn’t want people to buy a lot without being informed.
He moved commissioners waive the groundwater study, based on the court's discussion. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Craig Peacock and approved unanimously by the court.