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Water Rights: Is contaminating your groundwater with waste water trespassing?


If someone dumps trash in your garage is that trespassing?  Obviously, the answer is yes.  But, if someone dumps trash water and it contaminates your water, is it still trespassing?  The Texas Supreme Court is deciding that issue right now.

The Texas Tribune reported on the legal dispute between an injection well operator in Liberty County, Environmental Processing Services, and a nearby rice farm, FPL Farming.  Representatives of the farmers say wastewater from a well 8,000 feet beneath the surface has migrated into a saltwater aquifer beneath their land.  The farm says the waste is polluting their groundwater, which is trespassing, and that it should be compensated.

The case reached the state Supreme Court in 2011, but was remanded to a lower court.  It has failed to attract the attention of environmentalists and property rights advocates.  However, it has been followed closely by oil and gas representatives, who say a ruling in the farm’s favor could impact production.

Further details can be found at The Texas Tribune.