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2013-01-17

BCRAGD issues more notices of violation

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The board of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) voted to issue five more Notices of Violation (NOV) to well drillers, pump installers and a well drilling company owner during their regular quarterly meeting held Thursday, Jan. 10.
Set to receive the NOVs are licensed well driller Bryce Wallace; Pipe Creek Water Well, LLC (PCWW) owner and manager Robert Rae Powell; licensed master pump installer Edward Basham; and licensed well driller Thomas Max Johnson.
According to BCRAGD General Manager David Mauk, he had the water district's staff pull well logs on wells drilled by PCWW following the discovery of a number of alleged violations of both district and state rules and regulations last year on another well. NOVs were issued on those violations and a public hearing was held following the board's regular meeting Thursday.
The log on a well on Mountain Creek Road in Pipe Creek signed by well driller Wallace, "indicates that the driller lost circulation between 503-970 feet. The well log indicates that the driller only pressure grouted to 670 feet." District rules require the driller to set casing or regain circulation, or pressure grout the well from the top of the production zone to the surface, if circulation is lost. Wallace was working for PCWW at the time.
The board voted to issue a NOV to Wallace, fine him $500 for the violation, and notify the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for further enforcement.
Wallace and PCWW owner and manager Robert Rae Powell, were both issued NOVs regarding possible violations of district and state well drilling rules on a well drilled on North Mill Creek Road in March of 2011.
"There are problems with the well log and more," Mauk told the board. "We can't tell if the well went through the Edwards [an aquifer in the NW corner of Bandera County] or not... and it's only pressure grouted to 80 feet."
Agreeing with Mauk's recommendation, the board approved issuing NOVs to both Wallace and Powell, assess fines of $500 for failing to properly pressure grout the well and $500 for an inaccurate log.
Mauk told the board he would like to contact the owner of the well to do more investigation on site.
Licensed master pump installer Basham will receive a NOV and was assessed a fine of $250 for allegedly failing to properly cap a well and prevent pollutants from entering a well on Valley View Drive in Pipe Creek in March of 2007.
Property owner Melody Garcia told the board she had three wells drilled by the now defunct Armadigger, Inc. under licensed well driller Michael L. Tumlinson. All three wells failed.
Garcia hired PCWW to look at the third well, hoping to pull the pump. Basham testified that the pump would not come out and he suggested she drill another well.
Basham admitted that he left the site while the PCWW crew "pulled the rest of the pipe. Although I was not there at the end, we left the well uncapped," said Basham. "It's my license, my responsibility."
Garcia stated that at the time of the incident, Powell held an apprentice license. "That seems unethical," she said. Garcia expressed her anger toward the well drilling companies and the licensed drillers and pump installers she had experience with and said, "They've caused enough damage to the people of the county."
The board voted to cite Powell with an NOV and a referral to TDLR as not being qualified to supervise when Garcia's well was worked on by PCWW.
Finally, the board issued an NOV to licensed well driller Thomas Max Johnson for alleged violations regarding a well drilled on Rio Hondo Road in Tarpley in February of 2011. Johnson was working for PCWW at the time.
"This well driller was supposed to be supervising Rae Powell (who had an apprentice license at the time)," said Mauk. "I've never seen him on a site, haven't been able to get in touch with him."
The board voted to issue an NOV to Johnson, fine him $500, and refer him to TDLR for failure to file the proper forms with BCRAGD required by well drillers and pump installers before doing any projects in Bandera County.
According to BCRAGD rules, those issued NOVs have the right to testify before the board in a public hearing.
In other business, the board:
• Accepted Mauk's Annual Report which will be posted on the district's website and discussed at the board's next meeting;
• Received an unqualified (the best) opinion from auditor Eric Ede;
• Approved water well permits requested by Byron Janik, 12530 Highway 16, Medina; and by Another Closet Self Storage, 4134 Hwy. 16 South, Bandera.