Monday, September 7, 2009

Beach Street Pipeline Stealing Trinity River Water On Public Parkland

Months ago when I hiked to the Tandy Hill's zone Chesapeake Energy operation I was surprised to see 3 big pipelines running through a culvert, under the freeway, to the Trinity River, to suck water for the drilling operation.

Seeing this perplexed me. How does one get permits and permission to do such a thing? Water is a precious commodity here in drought-stricken North Texas.

Then I remembered why Mike Moncrief was installed as mayor of Fort Worth. He's an oil man. With vested interests in all the drilling companies poking holes in Fort Worth to get at the Barnett Shale natural gas. In other parts of the world this is what is known as a conflict of interest. In other parts of the world it can get you jail time. Anyone heard of the Teapot Dome Scandal?

I parked on the north end of the Beach Street Bridge across the Trinity River, stopping to take some littler pictures. And then I saw something even more interesting. A pipeline was running under the Beach Street Bridge. I followed that for a bit, then realized it was not heading to the river. So, I went the other direction, towards Gateway Park.

In the above picture you see the pipeline going under the pedestrian bridge that connects Gateway Park with the Trinity River Trails.

The pipeline comes out the other side of the pedestrian bridge, then heads down a steep, roughly made "temporary" road, made to facilitate moving what is at the end of the pipeline.

At the Trinity River's edge sits a big diesel pump. At the time I saw it it was not pumping, but it reeked of diesel.

A skirt of some water-stopping material formed a barrier around the pump, I assume to try and keep spilled diesel out of the river. How does a private business get the permission to do something like this on public land? What would happen if a private citizen, for some random reason, built a road on public land, to put a diesel pump near the river, to run a pipeline so he could get water for free?


Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

YUCK! You've raised a very good does a private company get permission to do this? I'd like to know. Secondly, even with permission...why a diesel pump? I'm sure the intelligent folks at Chesapeake would do a bit more to protect the environment, such as using a portable solar energy system. Clean, efficient and all sorts of friendly to the land and nearby water. Finally, I know I've said this before...out with Mayor Mike!

John Austin Basham said...

Alright, let's just "pretend" that this is something that is smart to do. My big question, in all the numbers that TRWD and the drilling industry release each year on water usage, do they take into account how much water is sucked straight from the river. If so where is the meter (if there is one) and who controls the calibration and reading of said meter? Oh yeah, who makes sure the diesel in the skirt doesn't overflow into the river during rain-storms? Oh wait... what am I nuts, this is Fort Worth, Never mind.

Landslide said...

The ones to ask are members of the board of the Tarrant Regional Water District. Jim Lane, on his election to the board, said there would be transparency on the Water Board. Ask Jim Lane.

The district sells water at wholesale rates to Fort Worth. Fort Worth sells the water to its residents and to other cities. Fort Worth sells water to gas drillers as well and I think at lower rates than residents pay.

No doubt the water district sells water directly from the river to gas interests.

The potential use of water for gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing within the city limits is over 20 billion gallons. Add county land and all the Barnett shale operations and you are looking at 30, 40, 50 billion gallons of water that will be contaminated and disposed of in deep wells. Some of that disposed water may wind up in aquafirs or other ground water sources that provide water to private or community wells.

Not to worry though, Government is watching out for us.