A public hearing to collect input on a proposed deep well injection waste disposal facility on Jack Martin Road near Dubberly has been set for 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 20 at the Minden Civic Center, and one Webster Parish Police Jury member is hoping for a large public turnout.
“It’s on the Nelson Drilling yard on Shadows Road and initially the company said it was drilling the well for its own use as a salt water disposal well,” District 7 police jury member Steve Lemmons said following Tuesday’s jury meeting.
“The well has been there about a year. They got it passed and I believe they planned to commercialize this from day one,” Lemmons added.
At Tuesday’s police jury meeting, members approved a public hearing on an issue related to the disposal well at next month’s regular session scheduled for Dec. 2. The purpose of that hearing will be to receive public input on infrastructure (roads) near the site.
“If they get the permit for commercial use, there will be about 40 trucks running up and down that road each day,” Lemmons said. “It’s projected to be a 20-year deal and nobody’s happy about that.”
Lemmons said part of the application addresses certain prohibitions, including locating such a commercial facility near flood zones and church properties.
“The site is about 500 feet from (the) Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries group home which serves special needs citizens. People from that home walk up and down that road. We who live there know they walk it, but putting that many trucks on the road would be extremely dangerous,” he said.
Another concern for Lemmons is the proximity of the well to a flood zone.
“It’s only 350 feet from the well site to a flood zone and the natural drain is toward that zone,” he pointed out. “If anything happens, a spill or something, it would drain straight toward the flood zone.”
Lemmons said he urged people living in the area to attend the public hearing at Minden’s Civic Center which will be conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources, office of Conservation Environmental Division.
“I think it’s pretty critical that as many people as possible come to that meeting and at least listen to what’s being planned. It is said in the application that Minden is the nearest municipality to the site but it’s not. It is only a mile from the facility to Dubberly. There are a lot of things in the application that aren’t exactly accurate,” Lemmons said.
Lemmons said he also wants to address the way permits for drilling a well are issued.
“When a company applies for a drilling permit, there is supposed to be a public notice published in the nearest circulation newspaper,” he said. “They can say the Shreveport paper is the nearest circulation and nobody may read
it. I believe they should contact everyone who lives within a mile of the site.”
That’s an issue which must be addressed by the state legislature, Lemmons acknowledged.