2011-03-03 / Front Page

Caparo Discusses Water With Alcoa

Water was tops on the minds of most attendees at the February 2011 meeting of the Community Advisory Panel to Alcoa CAPARO. Alcoa had notified members prior to the meeting that the plant had entered into a nonbinding discussion with the Guadalupe- Blanco River Authority (GBRA). GBRA is talking with a variety of parties that could supply water from Central Texas to San Antonio and other areas.

Alcoa owns 37,000 acres in Lee and Milam Counties, including the rights to capture the groundwater under that land.

Attendees were asked to share their questions and concerns so their input could be compiled and provided to Alcoa in regard to this matter.

When asked about the plant’s current water usage, Jim Hodson said that reclamation of the mined land is still underway though active mining ended several years ago. Thus Sandow Mine still operates under a Texas Railroad Commission surface mining permit and will do so until the commission declares reclamation complete.

During reclamation, some water is needed to depressurize pits as the land is reshaped and vegetated.

Wells used for mining are regulated by the Railroad Commission mine permit. Wells for other purposes fall under the groundwater conservation district (GCD) for that area. Alcoa meets its need for potable water with wells regulated by Post Oak Savannah GCD. The plant also has two active wells in the Lost Pines GCD in Lee and Bastrop Counties, which supply water to Manville Water Supply.

Questions and small group discussions revealed a strong need for a clear, concise explanation of the regulatory structure and rules to be followed if Alcoa were to sell and export the Sandow groundwater.

CAPARO will meet again on Monday, May 9 for an update from Alcoa on plant operations and any activity on the water project. The 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. meeting will be held at the Alcoa Lake Training Center in Rockdale. Visitors are welcome. Reservations are encouraged. Contact CAPARO facilitator Diane Sheridan at 800/484-9212 x 4127 or DBSheridan@aol.com.

Lexington area residents are also welcome to contact CAP member Margaret Newman at 979- 773-4184.

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