A group of Marshall County residents is fighting on at least two fronts against a proposed wastewater disposal well in their area.
Texas-based Bosque Disposal Systems LLC is seeking to drill a disposal well about 10 miles south of Madill capable of handling up to 50,000 barrels of saltwater a day.
Several residents testified about their concerns over the project Friday before an administrative law judge for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Some residents also have filed a lawsuit in Marshall County to block Bosque's planned disposal well, claiming the company has no right to drill there because it does not own mineral rights.
Neither case has been decided.
During Friday's hearing, Oklahoma City resident William Freeman spoke on behalf of his family's ice-making business, which relies on a water well about 500 yards from the site of the proposed disposal well.
“Our concern is that this disposal well somehow contaminates our water well,” he said.
Rancher Richard Rushing said he is worried about the potential health impact on his family and his livestock.
Bosque attorney David Pepper said the company has agreed to drill three monitoring wells to ensure there isn't any groundwater contamination from the disposal site.
Ted Stromberg, a petroleum geologist hired by Bosque, said the disposal well will be drilled deeper than any of the water wells in the area to guard against contamination.
He estimated it could cost $8 million or more to drill as deep as 25,000 feet underground.
Attorney James Peters, who represents about a dozen Marshall County residents, questioned whether Bosque will be able to drill the well on the irregular, pie-shaped tract of land it owns.
Stromberg said the project likely would be abandoned if a drilling rig will not fit on the site.
Robert Campbell, a petroleum geologist hired by the residents opposed to the project, said he thinks regulators need more information about how the well will be constructed before they can rule on Bosque's application.
“There's just so many uncertainties,” he said. “No one seems to be very certain about anything.”
After hearing from seven witnesses Friday, administrative law judge Michael Norris took the case under advisement.
He said the case included a number of complex issues.
In the Marshall County case, Bosque has filed a motion to dismiss, but it has not been heard by a judge, according to court records.
Our concern is that this disposal well somehow contaminates our water well.”