Indian Bayou residents look to prevent injection well

By Justin Martin

LSN STAFF WRITER

INDIAN BAYOU — There is growing opposition to the construction and operation of a commercial deep well injection waste disposal facility in the Indian Bayou community.

Rayne SWD, the company that plans on constructing and operating the facility, recently applied for the necessary permits, which brought the issue into the public forum. It also set up a required public hearing to be conducted by the Commission of Conservation on Dec. 2.

The Indian Bayou community is no stranger to deep-well injection waste disposal facilities. Several years ago, the community was able to get one located at Golden Grain and La. 700 shut down due to numerous violations. The community activists set up surveillance and monitored illegal activity, then reported the violations to State and federal agencies. They were able to get the facility shut down.

Much of the Indian Bayou community showed up at Indian Bayou United Methodist Church Monday night to air their grievances and construct a plan to either delay or prevent the facility from being built near their homes. The planned location is just off of La. 35, about a quarter mile south of the Parish line.

Politicians State Sen. Nick Gautreaux, State Rep. Nancy Landry, Vermilion Parish Police Jurors Chris Beraud and Cloris Boudreaux and Vermilion Parish School Board Member Dexter Callahan were all in attendance, and all appeared to support the cause.

The main effort of the grassroots opposition so far has been a letter-writing campaign. The group has been sending letters to Commissioner of Conservation James Welch outlining the main reason they feel the facility would be detrimental to their community.

Their reasons list as:

- it is a popular belief that the high rate of cancer victims in the area is due to the previous well in the community.

- they believe the well will not be monitored properly

- various health concerns

- fear of contamination of drinking water

- there are concerns of contaminating local agriculture

- increased truck traffic could damage La. 35

“Probably everyone in this room knows a neighbor, a loved one, a family, that probably has died possibly related to this cancer (believed to be caused by the previous injection well),” Ricky Hayes, the default leader of the opposition group, said at Monday night’s meeting. “I know it is hard to prove. I am not saying that is was, but it sure leaves a bad taste in my mouth to know what happened there, and that they want to put in another one.”

Representatives from Rayne SWD will appear before the Vermilion Parish Police Jury on Monday to seek the Jury’s approval of the facility. But Hayes told those gathered Monday that it is his belief that the Jury will deny approval.

Hubert Savoy, owner of Rayne SWD, did not attend the meeting Monday night, but he did speak to the Meridional the next morning. He said he had heard many of the complaints of the opposition, but he feels they are simply uninformed about what his operation would be like.

He said he is familiar with the previous well’s activities, but his will operate nothing like that.

“They are all talking about the old system,” Savoy said. “I know because I hauled hundreds of loads there. But this (the Rayne SWD facility) will be nothing like that. That was horrible, and no body never did nothing about it.”

The main difference, he said, will be the depth of the well. The new well will be 6,400 feet deep, compared to the 2,500 feet of the old well.

He also said safety features on the new well will be improved. “I will have monitoring on the casing and the tubing. The truck is going to unload on a slab. It is going to be a top notch deal.”

He also stated that there is an already existing similar facility approximately a mile and a half north of his planned location.

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