Yoakum studies injection well sites
YOAKUM — A citizen presentation on the potential dangers of disposal injection wells highlighted Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Yoakum City Council.
Gayle Mikulenka-Parenica, who owns property situated about 300 feet from one of the proposed sites of these wells, laid out in great detail her concerns about how detrimental the wells would be to the city.
The location of a well site owned by Karis Resources LLC and the two proposed location for sites by Pinnergy are located on Highway 111 and Highway 95.
“Those are the entry points for the city,” said Mikulenka-Parenica. “Before long it appears that Yoakum is going to be the center of significant injection well activity.”
“Not only does that create aesthetic problems as people come into Yoakum, but these wells could potentially threaten the drinking water as well as create earthquakes and fires.”
Injection disposal wells have been identified as likely causes for earthquakes according to a study that was published earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey. The wells have been blamed for causing earthquakes in Arkansas, Ohio and North Texas.
Mikulenka-Parenica also pointed out the potential damage such wells can do to the environment because the fluid they produce will be placed under the Evangeline, Jasper and Gulf Coast aquifers.
“Those aquifers supply some of the highest quality drinking water in the state of Texas,” she said. “Unfortunately, Yoakum happens to be right on top of it.”
According to her research, the maximum volume produced by a single injection well is 25,000 barrels per day or approximately 1.4 million gallons. The proposed wells have an estimated average daily volume of 10,000 barrels or 550,000 gallons.
“Imagine if that amount was solid waste on ground,” she said. “Just because it’s underground and you can’t see it doesn’t make it OK.”
Another potential problem the wells may bring is a complication of the city’s ability to grow.
“Generally speaking a lot of cities grow to the north,” said Mikulenka-Parenica. “With three injection wells placed on the north side of Yoakum, this could potentially stifle the community’s growth.”
While recognizing the council doesn’t have the ability to keep these wells from being permitted, Mikulenka-Parenica said the city does have options because of the well sites are less than two miles from the City of Yoakum’s Water Well.
“We ask that the City of Yoakum consider the possibility of an injunction until further studies can be done,” she said. “According to one of my sources that would be a plausible situation because of the proximity of these wells to the city’s water wells.”
“Other people have been successful in keeping these wells from moving in by putting a lot of public pressure on the companies. Even though the well gets permitted, that doesn’t mean it has to take place.”
In another agenda item, the council made several appointments to various boards.
Gary Cooper and Tommy Linn, Jr. were appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, while Charles Pate and Norman Kaiser were named to the Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals.
Mark Jahn, Darlene Renken, Scott Moehlman, Christine Zimmerman and Michael Machalec were all appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Roberta Bittick, Lynn Brewer, Bill Haas and Reggie Simek were named to the Library Board.
Howard Templin, Wilbern Hairell, Harvey Pekar, Connie Zimmerman and Alan Kahanek were appointed to the Building And Standards Commission, with Suzi Brewer named as an alternate. Sitka was chosen as the Yoakum Heritage Museum Representative from the City Council.
In other business, the council:
• Elected Anita Rodriguez as Mayor and Elorine Sitka as Mayor Pro-Tem.
• Approved an ordinance accepting the Texas Gas Service rate settlement agreement.
• Authorized the City Manager to advertise for bids for Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project Year III.