RRC Successfully Plugs Uncontrolled Water Flow in Crane County

January 31, 2024

AUSTIN- This week marked the end of an extensive project in the Railroad Commission’s efforts to protect environmental and public safety.

On Monday, the RRC completed plugging a well that had an uncontrolled water flow in Crane County that began in December.

Inspectors in West Texas were dispatched within hours of the water flow being reported, and construction almost immediately began on lined pits and berms to contain the flow and protect any threat to freshwater.

The water flow stopped on January 21. The well is now cased and cemented and freshwater zones are protected.

The agency has done extensive research, and the well is not on any RRC records, indicating no evidence that this is an oil and gas well. Water sampling further suggests this may not have been an oil and gas well.

The water sample had high salt content, which would not be surprising given the fact that the site is over the Salado Formation which is a salt formation.  

Although there is no evidence to suggest that this is an orphan oil and gas well, the RRC acted quickly to remediate the water flow in Crane County because the RRC will make every effort possible to protect freshwater in Texas.

We are continuing to investigate the historical geological features in the area and working with entities such as the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology for potential assistance in understanding historical geology.

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.