Domestic wells in vicinity of uranium exploration drilling have "alarming" levels of radiation according to Texas ground water district
Goliad County files lawsuit against Uranium Energy Corp.; Powertech doing similar exploratory drilling in Weld County
Posted March 19, 2008
Goliad County: 'Leave us alone'
County, residents file suit against uranium company
By Gabe Semenza
March 18, 2008
When Luann Duderstadt wakes up each morning at her 150-acre Goliad County farm, she prefers a hot cup of tea.
She enjoys the beverage less these days, though.
For the past year, Duderstadt and her husband, Craig, have paid for the home delivery of bottled water.
Their discolored tap water is muddied with sludge and slime, she said, and they won’t drink it or cook with it.
Tired of the hassle, the Duderstadts attached their name to a lawsuit filed Monday against Uranium Energy Corp. Goliad County is also suing the company.
Jim Blackburn is the Houston lawyer representing both parties.
“We’re suing for pure violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act,” Blackburn said by phone on Monday. “Further claims will be added later.”
Blackburn said the company contaminated groundwater supplies through its explorations of uranium in the sandy soils underfoot in Goliad County.
Harry Anthony, the uranium company’s chief operating officer, said Monday afternoon that he has not received notice of the lawsuit.
He then referred to a public statement he made to Goliad County residents on Jan. 23 during a town hall meeting. During that meeting, he said, “This project will not adversely affect the groundwater. We wouldn’t have undertaken this project if those concerns were even partially true.”
On Monday, he said, “There have been no changes to our position since then.”
Duderstadt, though, doesn’t buy it. Her north Goliad County farm is close to the exploration area – near Weser and just east of U.S. Highway 183.
“They have harmed our water and we have a right to protect it,” she said. “We never had any problems with water until UEC began exploring.”
The company has drilled test wells in search of Goliad County uranium since July 2006.
Blackburn said concerns are that identified contamination is directly related to the exploration.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Victoria, lists 143 items to support the complaints.
In December 2006, the Goliad County Groundwater Conservation District had 15 wells tested, including Duderstadt’s well.
Two months later, the county reported three of the 15 wells were found to contain “alarming” levels of radiation.
Duderstadt’s well did not contain an alarming radiation level, but she said the water is so muddy she doesn’t like to shower in it.
Art Dohmann, president of the Goliad groundwater district, said the district has now tested more than 300 wells for contamination.
Wells tested outside the uranium exploration area revealed minimal contamination, he said.
But at least five wells near the area, and downstream as the aquifer flows, did have elevated contamination levels, he said.
It’s possible that heavy rains forced surface contamination in through the exploratory boreholes and into the aquifer, Dohmann suggested.
On March 26, 2007, the Texas Railroad Commission found 74 boreholes that were not properly sealed. Dohmann said a borehole is about 7 or 8 inches wide and stems 450 feet beneath surface soil and deep into the county’s aquifer.
The uranium company’s permit requires boreholes to be capped within 48 hours of drilling.
The company has now drilled about 1,100 boreholes.
“I would just say that the process needs to guarantee the protection of those drinking water supplies,” Dohmann said.
Blackburn, the lawyer, said the lawsuit does not immediately stop the mining company from exploring. He could, however, file a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order to try to stop it now, he said. Ultimately, that’s what Goliad County and the Duderstadts want.
The suit calls for an order to stop the exploration, for the company to clean contamination of the aquifer and to pay for the fees incurred by the county in this suit.
Duderstadt just wants her tap water back.
“The ultimate outcome is for them to pack up, get out of here and leave us alone,” she said. “All I want is for life to be normal out here again.”
Gabe Semenza is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6519 or email@example.com.
ORIGINAL COMPLAINT - GOLIAD COUNTY,
TEXAS; CRAIG AND LUANN DUDERSTADT, Plaintiffs, v. URANIUM ENERGY CORP.,
Defendant. IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS VICTORIA DIVISION. Case 6:08-cv-00018. Filed 03/17/2008 (pdf - 18 pages)
Texas county intends to sue uranium mining company for contaminating well water - Lawsuit against Uranium Energy Corp. is the result of "a number of water wells that have been rendered undrinkable" according to Goliad County attorney
Posted March 3, 2008
As uranium mines closed, state altered cleanup goals - Dan Kelley
Powertech news releases describing its drilling activities in Weld County: