Several businesses sued by conservation district over water well violations

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Nov. 2, 2010, 6:31am

GALVESTON � The Harris-Galveston Subsidence District has filed suit against a number of local businesses over alleged violations relating to water wells.

The district alleges that Pet Emporium of Santa Fe, Kelly Bradley Inc., Canyon Landscape & Maintenance, Better Deal Appliance Source and Highway 646 Auto Repair and their respective proprietors failed to obtain required the permits to drill and operate their water wells or pay the mandated application and permit fees, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 22 in Galveston County District Court.

The district was created by the Texas Legislature in 1975 to regulate groundwater withdrawals in order to prevent subsidence in Harris and Galveston counties. 

The defendants each operate one or more water wells inside the jurisdictional boundaries of the district, the suit explains.

According to the original petition, the district has "all of the rights, powers, privileges and authority necessary and convenient to exercise its jurisdiction and powers."

"By carrying out this role, the district is serving a public use and benefit with respect to all the land and property within the district," the suit says. 

The plaintiff insists that the businesses either committed a separate violation for every day they illegally operate a well, or did not pay a stipulated fee based on the term of the permit and the maximum amount of groundwater that the board has authorized for withdrawal.

Consequently, the district asks Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox to grant an injunction barring the defendants from the continued unauthorized groundwater withdrawals from the wells under their control.

Attorney Greg M. Ellis of League City is representing the plaintiff.

Case No. 10-cv-4016

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