The Argyle-Bartonville Communities Alliance was formed in March 2010, three months after nearly 90 residents signed a set of petitions protesting to the Texas Railroad Commission an injection well, tank farm, and compression facilities on Jeter Road.
Euphemistically named a “centralized collection facility,” the toxic waste tank farm and compression station was proposed by Williams Production for a 7-acre site at Frenchtown and Jeter Roads at the floodplain of White’s Branch, a creek that empties directly into Grapevine Lake.
The Jeter Road site was purchased by Mockingbird Pipeline LP, a subsidiary of Williams Production, using one of its employees as an intermediary in August 2009, one month after the Argyle Town Council approved two special-use permits for Williams to drill the Blessing and Wright units inside town limits. According to documents submitted with the special use permits, the Town Council knew, or should have known, that Williams’ plans included pushing the toxic waste to a site outside town limits.
The Jeter Road site lies in Argyle’s extra-territorial jurisdiction. In 1987, the Texas Legislature granted cities some planning authority in areas just outside their corporate limits to “to promote and protect the general health, safety, and welfare of persons residing in and adjacent to the municipalities.”
By ordinance Argyle does not allow commercial injection wells inside town limits.
Williams subdivided the Jeter Road property in the fall of 2009, with the intent of leasing part of it to Bosque Disposal Systems, a commercial disposal well operator. It appeared that the company’s subdivision of the property, similar to using an intermediary to purchase the land, was employed to avoid having to notify the neighborhood of the proposed commercial disposal well. Another operator in the area, Gulftex, was one of the first to protest the location after a legal notice was published before Thanksgiving.
Neighbors learned about the proposed commercial disposal well by a fluke, filing their protests during the Christmas holidays.
In January 2010, the Texas Railroad Commission wrote Williams and Bosque that the property’s subdivision did not excuse them from properly notifying affected parties. The letter told the companies they would have to send letters to all property owners within a half-mile of the site within a set time frame. Bosque and Williams officially abandoned the commercial disposal well in March 2009.
Despite pressure from the neighborhood to abandon the site altogether, Williams subsequently announced the tank farm would be increased in size, since the toxic wastewater from the Blessing and Wright units would now have to be trucked to another location for disposal.
On May 19, 2010, one day after ABCA persuaded Denton County Commissioners to form a task force to address problems wrought by poor planning by operators on county lands — such as the Jeter Road site — Williams submitted permits for both compressors and a tank farm at the site. At least twelve tanks were installed by the end of the month.