“Safety is our first priority,” George Wommack, CEO of Petro Waste Environmental emphasized in a brief written statement.
In the email to a reporter with The Progress, Wommack described his company as “an integral part” of the drilling process.
“Our facility will handle the non-hazardous by-products created from drilling oil and gas wells in McMullen County,” Wommack said. “PWE adheres to all state and federal regulations.”
But local officials such as McMullen County Judge James Teal, Live Oak County Judge Jim Huff and their respective commissioners courts are not convinced.
Huff has said the company’s plans he has reviewed send out a “red flag” to him on behalf of Coastal Bend area residents—who depend on the water supply from the Frio River as it flows into Choke Canyon and the Nueces River down in Corpus Christi.
“It’s too big of a project not to take notice,” Judge Huff said in a previous interview.
Judge Teal has said McMullen County representatives hope to convince Petro Waste Environmental LP to possibly relocate the disposal facility.
Teal recently authored and sponsored a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission. In it, he said McMullen County Commissioners Court—as the only governmental body with any regulatory authority on this disposal site proposed by PWE—has problems reconciling the company’s development plans with the possible effect it could have on the local environment.((The property in question is located on property four miles north of unincorporated Tilden.)
Among Judge Teal’s concerns—and a major reason for his request the Railroad Commission conduct a public hearing on the matter—is “potentially hazardous waste” he believes could be exposed to the environment.
On their “Notice of Application for a Commercial Disposal Facility” placed in area newspapers on March 21, officials with Petro Waste Environmental, LP of San Antonio applied to the Railroad Commission to operate a commercial disposal facility “to treat and dispose of non-hazardous oil and gas waste at the McMullen County Reclamation & Disposal Facility.”
Teal said in his letter the company plans to “dump and dispose of a broad variety of oil and gas related operational waste” on the aforementioned 1,500 acres in McMullen County.
The forms of oil and gas waste listed in the formal letter of protest include water and based drilling fluid and associated cuttings, tank bottoms of various kinds, waste materials from produced water collecting pits, produced formation sand, non-injectable waste waters, soil contaminated with produced water, crude oil or condensation solid waste from gas dehydration and sweetening, iron sulfide, spent activated carbon and other filtering and separation media, and waste such as contaminated concrete or wood.
This week, Judge Huff continued the push to recruit local governments—specifically the Three Rivers City Council—to oppose the site. Additionally, Judge Teal has approached the Corpus Christi City Council, which passed a subsequent resolution to that effect.
In the brief response, Wommack emphasized that safety—and the importance of community—are paramount in the company’s actions.
“PWE is Texan owned and operated, and we are proud to contribute to the local economy in McMullen County,” Wommack said.