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2013-10-24

BCRAGD files suit against drillers; amends rules

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

During it's regularly scheduled quarterly meeting held Thursday, Oct. 10, the board of the Bandera Country River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) voted to file suit against two well drillers for failure to pay their fines and to amend district rules.
The board authorized its counsel, Richard Mosty of Kerrville, to file suit against well drillers Robert Rae Powell and Bryce Wallace in order to collect fines the district levied against the two in October of last year. They were charged with numerous violations of the district's rules and regulations.
Powell, at that time owner of Pipe Creek Water Well, was assessed a fine of $9,500 for 16 violations and had his authorization to drill wells in Bandera County revoked.
The violations included, among others, failure to properly case a well, allowing commingling of water from different levels of the aquifers under Bandera County, allowing bad water to flow into good water, improper sizing of the bore hole, failure to case to the total depth of the well, lack of authorization and lack of providing advance notice to BCRAGD before performing certain activities.
Wallace, who drilled wells for Pipe Creek Water Well, was assessed a fine of $6,000 for 10 violations. He also had his authorization to drill in the county revoked.
Both men were issued Notices of Violation and were given a hearing before the board. That hearing was held in January of this year.
The alleged violations were passed on to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Supporting the decision of the board to file suit, President Don Sloan said, "What's important is to back up our rules with serious efforts whenever it's required, and this requires it."
Changing rules
Following public hearings held last month and on Oct. 22, the board voted to appeal its current drought management plan and adopt a new one. They then voted to change the district's rules to include the new DMP in Sect. 12.3 of the rules. The rules and the DMP are available to the public at the district's offices at 440 FM 3240, or on the BCRAGD's website.
Lou Rosenberg, an attorney representing the Flying L Ranch Resort, thanked the board and the river authority's staff of professionals for working with him and the ranch to iron out problems between the two entities regarding the ranch's alleged failure to abide by the rules.
"We recommend adoption of the changes," Rosenberg said. "There was lots of back and forth, and we're grateful for the cooperation of the district." Rosenberg said the ranch has offered to set aside one of its wells to be used as a monitor well, and "we're committed to the pump testing we started a couple of months ago."