BLANCO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Potential rain in the forecast has some landowners in Blanco County concerned, since they say pipeline company Kinder Morgan didn’t install enough erosion contol measures, resulting in runoff on their property from previous rainfall this week.
“It was a small creek, I would say,” says landowner Mark Weiler.
Weiler’s property sits in Blanco County.
“This is my land right here that I’m standing on and behind me is the easement,” he says as he shows the clearing made by Permian Highway Pipeline crews.
That’s where water overtook a dirt berm and flooded other parts of his property.
Video from a neighbor, Myra Marvez, shows her pipeline fence succumbing to the rainfall.
She and Weiler say they’ve filed complaints with the Texas Railroad Commission, believing pipeline company Kinder Morgan didn’t do enough to control erosion.
Kinder Morgan Vice President Allen Fore says it is working with the landowners and the commission and has crews onsite Friday to fix or reinforce its erosion control devices. Current erosion prevention tools include silt fences, sediment logs and hay bales.
“We’re looking into those and our teams are out looking at those areas and really all across the route,” Fore said.
Weiler says pipeline crews have now added a black silt fence to his property and he’s satisfied with their response… For now.
“I would be upset if this happened again because my expectation would be that they check the entire property line to make sure that it was okay,”” Weiler says as more rainfall is expected Friday night.
The Texas Railroad Commission issued a notice of violation to Kinder Morgan after a drilling accident in the Blanco River in March. The pause in construction is only limited to that site.
Weiler says he’d like more accountability from the Railroad Commission.
He wants the group to issue broad violations to halt work until Kinder Morgan improves; not just wait for each incident to happen.
“It’s not a holistic view of the project; they’ll come and fix a spot here, a spot there, that’s what they do,” Weiler says.
In an emailed statement to KXAN, a commission spokesperson wrote:
“Protecting public safety and the environment are our highest priorities. Railroad Commission rules are specific to the prevention of pollution resulting from stormwater runoff. Operators conducting oil or natural gas pipeline construction activities are required by Commission rules to prevent the pollution of surface and groundwater resources. Towards that end, operators should implement best practices during the entire construction process to minimize storm water runoff that may cause the pollution of surface and ground water resources.
Commission inspections ensure operations are conducted in compliance with RRC rules. The Commission takes appropriate actions against violations resulting in pollution that affects the public’s health and safety.”R.J. DeSilva
Texas Railroad Commission Communications Director