Luminant CAP Hears Water Update, Visits Shop
The Luminant Community Advisory Panel (LCAP) held its spring meeting at the Three Oaks Mine office in Lexington. The main topics were a review of Luminant’s use of water for mining purposes and a presentation by Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.
James Bene’ of R.W. Harden and Associates said Luminant must use water to depressurize the Simsboro formation as they dig mine pits in order to prevent pressurized water under the lignite layer from filling the mine pit and collapsing the walls. Though water may be needed in the future to dewater the overburden above the coal seam, it has not been needed to date. Once pumped to the surface to depressurize, the water is used for dust control, vehicle cleaning, maintenance, and fire suppression before being discharged to the Middle Yegua Creek. Luminant does not own any groundwater rights. They pump what is needed for mining under terms of their surface mining permit.
Joe Cooper, General Manager of Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (LPGCD) said the district is generally concerned about sustaining the aquifer for current and future generations of Lee and Bastrop County residents. The Simsboro aquifer is not very large and demands are growing not only to serve local residents but also the cities in the Region L water planning area, which includes San Antonio. Water marketers are seeking permits, but cannot be granted permits until they have contracts with customers and document whether the water use will be beneficial.
When members decided to meet at the mine office, they asked to visit the maintenance shop where Luminant cleans, repairs, and performs planned maintenance on 42 major pieces of rolling equipment as well as dozens of light duty vehicles.
Luminant CAP will meet again Monday, September 12, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Giddings for a Mining 101 presentation at Martin Luther Lutheran Church. For more information, contact LCAP facilitator Diane Sheridan at 800- 484-9212 x 4127. Lexington area residents are also welcome to contact CAP member Margaret Newman at 979-773-4184.