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2012-03-22

Dump found near toxic LH well

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

A field technician with the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District found evidence of an illegal dumping site within yards of a private well that had tested positive for an assortment of volatile compounds as well as having a pH level equal to that of bleach.

The dumpsite was located last week, reported BCRAGD General Manager Dave Mauk.

The site, hidden in a cedar brake, contained numerous rusted 55-gallon barrels, solvent containers, paints, insect poisons and weed killers among other possibly dangerous pollutants.

One container originally contained a Chevron Chemical Company weed killer called Triox. The label on the can warns: "Triox is a highly caustic poison. It should be kept away from children and animals. Avoid breathing spray mist. Avoid contact with skin, eyes or clothing. ...Avoid getting Triox on cuts or sores. ...Livestock and poultry will be poisoned if allowed to feed on treated areas...."
After applying, the user is instructed to wash application equipment thoroughly with water and to "dispose of the wash water so that it cannot contaminate soil or directly or indirectly come in contact with persons or animals."

The BCRAGD has also drilled a monitor well near the site of the affected well in order to keep tabs on the levels of toxins. Those levels have been dropping as the well has been used for construction purposes, Mauk confirmed.

The suspect well is located at 111 32nd Street in Lakehills.

Old and new illegal dump sites are ubiquitous in Bandera County as most original ranches had personal dumps on their property for years.

Additionally, modern day contractors and individuals allegedly use isolated areas to dump toxic and other waste materials to avoid paying dumping fees.

According to BCRAGD board member Karen Ripley, who represents the Lakehills area, "Garbage collection [in Lakehills] is not existant. [If you use the county's services] you have to sort it, you have to pay for it," said Ripley. "The reality is that some cannot afford the cost so they dump it."
While illegally dumping the old fridge and computer may have a short-term benefit for the dumper, "There is a long term cost for everyone," Ripley added. "We have 50 years of old oil drums and other chemicals out there."


Pictured: Photo courtesy BCRAGD
A dumpsite found near a contaminated well in Lakehills contained a wide variety of rusted containers that once contained toxic substances.