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2014-07-17

TDLR penalizes Tejas Waterwell

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Local well drilling company Tejas Waterwell LLC, owned by Nick Marsh, has been issued a cease and desist order by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The order was issued on May 19.
According to information in the complaint, the "respondent is ordered to immediately cease and desist from acting as, impersonating, performing, or offering to perform work as a water well driller or a water well pump installer." The basis for the order was given as "respondent drilled a water well without the required State of Texas Water Well Drillers License."
Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) had referred violations by Marsh and two licensed well drillers, Bobby Roberts and Ray Turner to TDLR for any appropriate enforcement actions.
Marsh's problems arose when questions about alleged irregularities in drilling a Bandera County well followed inspections of the job by BCRAGD staff.
At a called meeting held on May 15, in Bandera, the BCRAGD board voted to fine Marsh $47,500 for violations of two district rules. The board agreed to suspend all but $25,000 of the fine, due in 90 days.
According to BCRAGD General Manager Dave Mauk, the well drilled by Tejas had neither been properly cased and grouted to prevent co-mingling of aquifers, nor had it been safely capped.
"The well was left ungrouted and/or uncemented for 45 days," Mauk told the board. "...[and] was left improperly capped for 130 days."
The actions of the two licensed well drillers, Roberts and Turner, were also investigated by BCRAGD in connection with the Tejas well. Roberts, who said he had started the job but walked away when he wasn't paid, reported the potential problems to both BCRAGD and TDLR. The BCRAGD board voted to quash the notice of violation it had issued to Roberts and assess no fines.
Turner admitted to the board that he should have paid more attention to what was going on on that job instead of just signing off on the paperwork. He was fined $3,500 by BCRAGD.
The TDLR assessed Turner an administrative penalty of $1,125 on the basis that he "drilled a water well and failed to submit the required State of Texas Well Report within 60 days to [TDLR], the local groundwater conservation district, and the person for whom the well was drilled."
Two other Bandera County businesses cited this year by TDLR and fined $1,000 or more include:
• Lopez Handyman Service LLC, Lakehills, assessed an administrative penalty of $2,500 for performing and/or offering to perform air conditioning and refrigeration contracting without first obtaining the required license. The penalty was assigned March 28.
• Carlos Ramirez, Lakehills, assessed an administrative penalty of $1,000 for performing and/or offering to perform electrical contracting without first obtaining the required electrical contractor's license. The penalty was assigned on June 6.