Reporting Joel Thomas
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Texas is dealing with a record statewide drought, and while residents and businesses are being asked to conserve water, Chesapeake Energy is using up millions of gallons for the fracking process at their gas drilling sites.
Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck is angry as well, because the latest case involves drinkable treated water from a fire hydrant in the southern part of Cluck’s city, near the intersection of Highway 360 and Sublett Road, close to Joe Pool Lake.
Jane Lynn noticed something peculiar about the gas drilling well near her south Arlington home. “I noticed that there was a meter and a hose hooked to the hydrant. And I talked to our gas well coordinator and he said what they were doing was sucking water out of the frac pond, then refilling the pond from the hydrant,” Lynn explained.
According to city sources, Chesapeake Energy has taken four million gallons of Arlington water from this particular site. “In a drought situation like we’re facing now,” Lynn said, “it bothers me to see drillers using such massive amounts of water as consumers are being asked to conserve.”
To make matters worse, those millions of gallons of Arlington water actually went over to neighboring Grand Prairie, where there are restrictions on using water for fracking. This is what got Cluck angry. “For you to come over here and take our water to Grand Prairie to frac a well, it’s unconscionable,” Cluck said. “And they’ll get a little fine. It’s not much. It has made me quite angry.”
Chesapeake Energy has spoken to Cluck, and told him that they believed using the water was not going to be a problem. In a written statement, the company said, “Chesapeake regrets its misunderstanding about water use from the pond. The water was metered and paid for, and no disrespect was intended by transporting it outside the Arlington city limits. Chesapeake has apologized to the City of Arlington and will willingly pay any fine imposed.”
Cluck is now considering tighter restrictions on the company’s operations in Arlington. “I need to get over the anger first,” he said. “Usually, you make a mistake when you take an action in anger, and I don’t want to do that.” He will talk to the Arlington City Council about the possibility of new water restrictions or gas drilling restrictions in the coming weeks.