New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 29, 1991, New Braunfels, Texas
IMT MMIimi COPT
August 29, 1991
Vol. 139, No. 203
Serving NEW BRAUNFELS and COMAL COUNTY / Home of Daniel Stauffer
One Section, 12 PagesStammtischBest wishes
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung wishes “happy birthday’* today to Adam Rene Gallejo, Charles Player, Pat Athony, Lori Bety Rice, George Perez Sr., Joe J. Villarreal, Chelo Zega, Annette Hinman, Joey Morales, Benjamin
Sanchez, Bill Dean, Rene Sauceda, Monica Suzan Villarreal, Veronica Sarkozi, Lee Herry, Elena Bores and Melissa Sue Flores.
Belated birthday wishes to Tillie Zimmermann.
“Happy anniversary” today to Bill and Sue Groff, Helen and Bob Voss, Pete and Elvira Cordova and Tony and Lisa Villalobos.
Belated anniversary wishes to Otto and Tillie Zimmermann.
Know of a birthday or anniversary? Give our receptionist a call the day before at 625-9144 — we’d like to share in the greetings.Boy Scouts
The Alamo Area Council, Boy Scouts of America will be sponsoring their annual school night for Scouting, Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at all elementary schools in and around San Antonio.
This is an leal opportune riv-boys to register for Scouting and for parents to find out what the Boy Scouts is all about. For more information contact the Boy Scout Service Center at (512) 341-8611. Eagles meeting
The Fraternal Order of Eagles will sponsor its 42nd anniversary party on Sunday, Sept. I at Eagles Hall. The Hall will open at 2 p.m. The program starts at 3:30 p.m. with the meal at 4:30 p.m. There was an error in the Eagle Bulletin, so disregard those dates.Symphony Guild
The Symphony Guild membership appreciation wine and cheese party will be Sept. 8 at the home of Robert and Loretts Atwood at #4 Ohio from 4-6 pjn. in the afternoon. Please phone “regrets only” at 629-5448 or 625-81%.Spaghetti supper
Canyon Lake Volunteer Fire Department will sponsor a spaghetti supper Sunday, Sept. 15 from 5-8:30 p.m. at Fire Station #2 on Oblate Drive at Farm-to-Market 2673. Plates for children under 8 will be $2; adult plates, $3.50. Proceeds will be used to help buy new equipment.Trade show
Tickets for the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s Business Trade Show scheduled for Sept. IO and ll are on sale at the Clamber office or from a member of the Trade Show committee. This is the third year for the show, which has been a success from the beginning. There are 64 booths with 57 exhibitors and more than 35 different products and/or services exhibited. Door prizes will be given with a trip for two to New Orleans as the grand prize. The sneak preview on Tuesday from 6 - 9:30 pan. is a galalike affair featuring entertainment and refreshments. The show on Wednesday includes a business apparel fashion show with models from local industries and clothing from local retailers beginning at 5:30 pjn.Square dancing
Square dance lessons begin SM STAMMTISCH, Pag* 2
Springs low despite rains
By MARK WARNKEN Staff Wrl tar
Above-average rainfall in the region this summer but below-average flow from the Comal Springs this month may indicate the danger posed to the Edwards Aquifer by a large catfish-farm water well in southern Bexar County, according to the local parks director.
Springflows currently are hovering between 190 and 200 cubic feet per second, compared with the average 220 for August and 215 for September, Parks Director David Whatley
told the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board earlier this week.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we should be higher than the 215,” Whatley said. “So if we were to get a normal rainfall year, or a slightly dry year, it’s going to be real interesting to watch what’s going to happen to the Edwards Aquifer.”
Living Water Artesian Springs Catfish Farm near Von Ormy draws enormous amounts of water from the aquifer, between 40 and 50 million gallons a day, through two artesian wells, one of which is said by an
industry journal to be the largest in the world. The farm daily uses nearly one-quarter of all the water used by homeowners and businesses in Bexar County, and much of the used water drains into the Medina River.
But the city of San Antonio, the Edwards Underground Water District and the state currently have no regulatory control over operator-investor Ronald Pucek’s water use. In fact, Pucek legally could drain the aquifer because Texas water codes say water used in fish farming is not a waste.
According to a graph prepared
using data from the Texas Water Commission, Comal springflow totals have been extremely volatile since 1956, compared to period between 1928 and 1956, Whatley said.
“Really, in the last half of this century it’s been wetter than normal, but the peaks are getting higher and the valleys are getting deeper,” he said.
1990 saw normal rainfall in the region, and this year has been wetter than normal, but springflows remain below average. The effect of the catfish-farm well on the Comal and San Marcos Springs, fed by the aquifer, so far
hasn’t been the topic of much discussion, he said.
“I don’t know if you can blame this all on the catfish farm or what. But if 50 million gallons are going out down that way, it’s reducing artesian pressure up this way. That’s 50 million gallons that doesn’t make it here,” Whatley said.
“That’s the whole Edwards situation. Water that historically used to come here is slowly and surely going to another river watershed, the San
Sa* CATFISH, Pag* 2
Sierra Club lawsuit gets court date
By MARK WARNKEN Staff Writer
The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club’s federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior to protect endangered species living in the Comal and San Marcos springs is scheduled for court Dec. 23, according to the plaintiff’s anomey.
The suit, filed last year in U.S. District Court in Midland as “Sierra Club vs. Lujan,” seeks to force the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reg ulate pumping of the Edwards Aquifer to protect four endangered or threatened species — the fountain darter, the San Marcos gambusia, Texas wild rice and the Texas blind salamander — through the federal Endangered Species Act.
The first three species live in and around the springs fed by the aquifer, the major water source for an eight-county area including San Antonio. The salamander lives in the aquifer itself.
Manual Lujan Jr. is U.S. secretary of the interior.
Stuart Henry, the Sierra Club’s Austin-based attorney, in a telephone interview Wednesday said the court date should be fairly firm, knowing the history of U.S. District Court Judge Lucius Bunton. But he expects attempts by aquifer pumpers to delay the court date.
So far, three irrigators from Uvalde and Medina counties have filed as interveners on behalf of the defendants, and the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority has intervened on behalf of the plaintiffs, Henry said.
“I’m not surprised at anything that’s happened in the lawsuit so far. It’s pretty much going as I expected,” Henry said. “But I didn’t think we’d be lucky enough to get to trial by the end of this year, but we may. Thai’s the good news.”
Henry said he expects other interveners, including more irrigators and possibly the city of New Braunfels on the side of the plaintiffs and
the city of San Antonio on the side of the defendants.
New Braunfels City Manager Paul Grohman said the City Council likely will consider formal action to intervene during its Sept. 9 meeting. He expects cither the city of San Antonio or the city water board to intervene on the side of the defendants.
“Therefore I think we should throw our hat in the ring and make sure our side is represented,” Grohman said. “We have to be a driving force in this."
Conceivably, the judge, known for his “rocket docket” approach, could render a decision as early January, Grohman said.
Federal attorneys recently filed lengthy legal responses to the lawsuit and to GBRA’s application to intervene, said David Welsch, GBRA’s director of planning and development. The judge granted GBRA’s right to intervene in the lawsuit against the Interior Department earlier this month, he said.
“That (the federal attorneys’ responses) would be considered a general denial, which is what you would expect,” Welsch said. “That’s just a general federal response saying, ‘Gee, we don’t think we did that.” Specifically, the lawsuit seeks to force federal authorities to restrict pumping from the aquifer at any time spring flow from Comal Springs is less than 350 cubic feet per second, thereby protecting the endangered species.
The Sierra Club also seeks development and implementation of a federal recovery plan as required by the Endangered Species Act. The plan would identify threats facing the endangered species and the actions needed lo preserve them.
A similar, but separate lawsuit seeking to protect the Comal and San Marcos springs, filed by OBRA about 18 months ago in state district court, was returned to state court earlier this month by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Sand used to absorb Tuesday’s chemical spill now is stored at Bluebonnet Motors’ make-ready area. It is contained in a dumpster and a dump truck, each covered with plastic. (Photos by Robert Stewart)
Sand ‘stored’ pending chemical study results
By ROBERT STEWART Staff Writer
Contaminated sand being stored in a plastic-covered dump truck and a dumpster in the 700 block of N. Walnut may remain there until it can be determined exactly what chemicals are contained in the sand so proper disposal methods can be utilized, said New Braunfels Fire Marshal Elroy Friesenhahn.
“It’s really in the hands of Bluebonnet Motors, the Health Department and the Texas Water Commission now,” Friesenhahn said. “The Fire Department is no longer involved in it.”
It has not been determined how the chemical was spilled, according to Neville Ehrhardt, service manager of Bluebonnet Motors.
“It’s a shame something like that happened — it’s just one of those bad things,” Ehrhardt said. “It normally takes eight to IO weeks to get tests back from the state. The state determines when it can be moved and what can be done with it.”
Officials are unsure about the chemical composition of the spilled chemical as the barrel spilled may have been used as a dump for several
Officer Wesley Meyer of the New Braunfels Fire Department demonstrates the Aim 3000 gas detector, a $10,000 device which tests for 36 different chemicals and determines oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
“I’m detecting petroleum naphtha, gasoline and acetone with explosive vapor readings," said Wesley Meyer
of the New Braunfels Fire Department.
Meyer was sampling the sand using an Aim 3000 gas detector, a $10,000 device which tests for 36 different chemicals and determines oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
“I don’t get anything around the containers,” he said. “It’s only when I take readings inside the plastic.”
“I went out there and checked it out — it’s a good storage,” said Ernie Hassold, Hazardous Materials Chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee. Hassold said he has been informed that the sand in the truck will be transferred to a dumpster and that the mick will washed out with 55 gallons of water, which will then be soaked up with sand and added to the original sand.
Meyer said that hot sun on the storage containers can increase gaseous activity. There was some question as to how the plastic coverings would fare in a heavy rainfall
Fire department officials restricted access to the storage area with fire-sccne yellow tape and instructed Bluebonnet Motors personnel to keep
SM CHEMICAL P*g* 2Good Day
A 20 percent chance of afternoon thundershowers punctuates a forecast that calls for hot, partly cloudy conditions with a high near 97 and an overnight low near 74. Friday’s forecast sounds much th same with scattered clouds and winds from the southeast at 10-15 mph anticipated. In New Braunfels Wednesday, the high was 95 ami the overnight low was 74. For weather details, please see Page 2.
United Way volunteers gather for campaign training
United Way volunteers gather around a television to view videotape presentation on the organization in preparation for sharing it with local businesses and organizations. (Photo by Robert Stewart)
By ROBERT STEWART Staff Writer
About 50 volunteers and organization representatives turned out for the United Way Volunteer Training Session at the New Braunfels Smokehouse Wednesday.
The breakfast meeting was held to familiarize volunteers with techniques used to solicit donations from individuals and businesses. Some of the fine points included dealing with objections, common questions and criticisms, establishment of employee campaigns and filling out account profile forms.
“There are roughly 60 more days left of the campaign,” said Jack Farris, co-drive chairman. “It’s really going to get into full swing.”
Farris recognized “pace-setter companies” like Wal-Mart, Sara Lee, Don Maxwell Chevrolet and WestPoint Pepperell outlet for their contributions to the campaign.
“We want to get IOO percent participation,” he said. “We’d Uke to get everybody to participate at some level.”
A common question asked is where the money donated to United Way goes. Co-chairman Pam Kraft explained that volunteers allocate funds by ranking community needs and deciding which are most appro
priate. Non-profit organizations submit their budgets and funding requests to the allocation committee. These requests are met as the budget allows.
“A fair share contribution is one hour’s pay per month,” Kraft said. “It’s not the maximum or the minu-mum a person can give but it is an average amount.”
The United Way of Comal County video was shown at the gathering.
Arrangements can be made for speakers and presentations of the video for companies interested in becoming involved in the United Way campaign. Executive Director Joe Worl said.
This year the United Way of Comal County will fund 23 organizations. Organizers pointed out that Comal County residents who work out of town can request that money deducted from paychecks be directed back to Comal County.
Another upcoming event in the campaign is the Gruene Musicfest Oct. ll and 12 which will benefit United Way. There will be a variety of bands playing Friday evening and all day Saturday Oct. 12, with a dance that night at Gruene Hall. This will be the fifth annual fest and will feature acts such as Gay Baker, said John Payne, organizer.
For more information call (512) 620-7760.