Round-the-clock drilling causes noise nuisance

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 5/20/21

A new city of Katy water well being dug just across the street from Bryant Elementary on Kingsland Boulevard is causing concern for residents living right next to the drilling operation. Resident …

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Round-the-clock drilling causes noise nuisance

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A new city of Katy water well being dug just across the street from Bryant Elementary on Kingsland Boulevard is causing concern for residents living right next to the drilling operation. Resident Jason Orr says the constant drilling is making it difficult for his family and their neighbors to sleep at night.

“My wife is recovering from cancer surgery last week and she can’t even sleep in her own house,” Orr said during a Friday afternoon interview.

The drilling is expected to be 24-hours a day most days through the next four weeks, a statement from Katy City Administrator Byron Hebert said. The drilling there is intended to increase capacity to an emergency interconnect for Willow Creek Farms, he said, and will make up for shortcomings in the past when the city was unable to provide capacity during an emergency. Once Water Plant No. 7 which the well is associated with comes online, that capacity should be there if needed, Hebert said.

“Per our Project Engineer, the project will have approximately 4 weeks of 24-hour operations. Because of the proximity to the homes, a sound wall has now been installed,” Hebert’s statement read. “Per the contractor, running a 24-hour operation is standard procedure for this industry, and it is needed to protect the integrity of the well as construction progresses.”

However, a statement from Willow Creek Farms Municipal Utility District President J. Sawyer said that no increase in capacity for the interconnect was requested by the MUD. However, it does indicate that an existing interconnect has been in existence since at least 2015 and has been utilized at least twice in the last few months, most recently during Winter Storm Uri in February.

Orr said drilling, which notices had said would be 24-hours-a-day stopped Saturday evening, unexpectedly.

In response, Hebert said the contractor had stopped drilling temporarily to set a steel casing in the well’s channel to shore it up.

“Once they finished placing the necessary casing, they cemented the annular space between the well casing and well hole. This was completed Sunday morning. The annular seal requires a 24-hour curing period before continuing with the construction operations,” Hebert’s statement read.

Orr said one of his primary concerns, aside from the noise and vibration under the flooring of his home, was that no information had been provided by the city to date regarding how the drilling would impact the foundations of nearby homes or the property values of those homes. The construction of the new water plant has been ongoing for some time, he said, with the water tower being installed first, followed by painting of the tower and now the drilling. While he understands that construction must now be completed, he would like some information on how his home’s value and safety have been impacted.

Orr and his neighbors along Willowmoor Lane, just outside of Katy city limits have been enduring the construction process for about a year now, he said.

In an email to Katy’s leadership, Orr expressed concerns about violations of noise ordinances, safety concerns about items suspended by a crane coming over his property line and just generally poor living conditions – despite a noise buffering wall that has been set up – is both concerning and disruptive, especially given little response from Katy’s leadership.

“I apologize if my tone seems harsh, that is not my intention. A year of major construction next to the rooms we work and sleep in has taken its toll,” Orr wrote in the May 12 email. “My wife is sick and the lack of response is a little insulting.”

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