The Real Dirt

John Worrall

WORRALL PG. 75 (LINES 13-18)

13·· · · Q· ··And it's your testimony that the nearest

14··residence to the proposed facility is approximately

15··185 feet west of the facility boundary?

16·· · · A· ··That's correct.

17·· · · Q· ··And 345 feet from the landfill footprint?

18·· · · A· ··That's my recollection, yes, sir.


WORRALL PG. 76-79 (LINES 15-16)

15·· · · Q· ··Okay.··In your analysis, what did you identify

16··as the likely impacts on nearby property owners and


18·· · · A· ··What I've done is characterized the land use

19··within one mile of the facility and didn't attempt to

20··specifically document impacts between the facility and a

21··particular residence, if I'm understanding your


23·· · · Q· ··Okay.

24·· · · A· ··So what I'm trying to do is characterize the

25··area within one mile, by and large, and then look at

 1··these other required elements, including the most

2··proximate residence.··So --

3·· · · Q· ··Yeah, thank you.

4·· · · A· ··Okay.

5·· · · Q· ··In your analysis, did you identify the impacts

6··to human health on nearby property owners and


8·· · · A· ··Yes, to the extent that it's required by the


10·· · · Q· ··And how did you -- what was your analysis --

11·· · · A· ··Well --

12·· · · Q· ··-- on human health?

13·· · · A· ··Well, I analyzed all of the rules, and you're

14··seeing the results of the analysis I did by

15··characterizing land use, by looking at zoning, looking

16··at growth trends, and examining proximity to various

17··uses, whether it be schools, cemeteries, churches,

18··recreational areas and the like.

19·· · · Q· ··So you identified those elements, but you did

20··not identify the impacts to human health.··Is that


22·· · · A· ··Well, again, what I did was I looked at the --

23··it says -- if I may refer to the rules?

24·· · · Q· ··Sure.

25·· · · A· ··Which I've -- my summary of those rules, which

 1··I believe is accurate, is on Page 2 of -- excuse me --

2··Page 3 of Applicant's Exhibit No. 3.··And so what I'd

3··like to refer to is, if you're following where I'm --

4··are you tracking --

5·· · · · · · · · JUDGE QUALTROUGH:··Can you give the exact

6··cite for the rule?

7·· · · · · · · · THE WITNESS:··I'd be happy to.··I'll have

8··to dig it out.

9·· · · · · · · · JUDGE QUALTROUGH:··Is it 330.61?

10·· · · · · · · · THE WITNESS:··330.61, Subset (h), is what

11··my notes say.

12·· · · · · · · · JUDGE QUALTROUGH:··Okay.

13·· · · · · · · · THE WITNESS:··Madam, you'd prefer that I

14··use the rule book for that?··Happy to do it.

15·· · · · · · · · I'm referring to the Texas Administrative

16··Code 330.61, Paragraph (h).··And it reads, Impact on

17··surrounding area:··A primary concern is that the use of

18··any land for a municipal solid waste facility not

19··adversely impact human health or the environment.··The

20··owner or operator shall provide information regarding

21··the likely impacts of the facility on cities,

22··communities, groups of property owners or individuals,

23··by analyzing the compatibility of land use, zoning in

24··the vicinity, community growth patterns, and other

25··factors associated with the public interest.


1·· · · · · · · · And then it goes on to say, To assist the

2··Commission in evaluating the impact of the site on the

3··surrounding area, the owner or operator shall provide

4··the following -- and then it lists several elements,

5··which I would summarize as zoning, character of

6··surrounding land uses, growth trends, proximity, and

7··then on to other factors as well.

8·· · · Q· ··(BY MR. TUCKER)··Good.··Thank you.

9·· · · · · · · · So do you believe that an owner or


10··operator has a duty to identify the likely impacts on

11··human health?

12·· · · A· ··Yes, I do.

13·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And do you believe your analysis has

14··done that?

15·· · · A· ··I do believe it has, consistent with the rules,



WORRALL PG. 91-94 (LINES 8-12)

 8·· · · Q· ··And so you also mentioned that you analyze

9··community growth patterns.··Is that right?

10·· · · A· ··Yes, that's correct.

11·· · · Q· ··How do you define community when you conduct

12··that analysis?

13·· · · A· ··Well, if I may, I think I misspoke.··I don't --

14··the rules do not ask me to identify community growth

15··patterns; they ask me to identify growth trends within

16··five miles.

17·· · · Q· ··Okay.

18·· · · A· ··So I misspoke, and I apologize.

19·· · · Q· ··Well, I'm going to read a portion of the rule

20··to you.

21·· · · A· ··Okay.

22·· · · Q· ··The owner or operator shall provide information

23··regarding the likely impacts of the facility on cities,

24··communities, groups of property owners or individuals by

25··analyzing the compatibility of land use, zoning in the

1··vicinity, community growth patterns, and other factors

2··associated with the public interest.

3·· · · · · · · · Do you see that?··It's the second


5·· · · A· ··Yes.

6·· · · Q· ··Okay.··So is that sentence -- does that guide

7··your analysis?

8·· · · A· ··It does.··And then further -- the immediately

9··following sentence I think is even more to the point.

10··It says, To assist the Commission in evaluating the

11··impact of the site on the surrounding area, the

12··owner-operator shall provide the following.

13·· · · Q· ··Okay.

14·· · · A· ··So that's what I shall provide.··That's what I

15··do provide, therefore.

16·· · · Q· ··Okay.··So then do you attempt to define a

17··community growth pattern in your analysis?

18·· · · A· ··Frankly, no.··What I try to do is specifically

19··talk about Subset (3) under Paragraph (h), which is

20··information about growth trends within five miles of the

21··facility with directions of major development.

22·· · · Q· ··Okay.

23·· · · A· ··The previous version of these rules -- which

24··you would be too young to remember -- used to say, in

25··this case, identify the growth trends of the nearest

 1··community.··But they changed it some years back to

2··indicate growth trends within five miles.··So it used to

3··be more specific about the nearest community, but now

4··they ask -- the TCEQ asks about growth within five


6·· · · Q· ··So do you have an opinion about whether five

7··miles is intended to define the community?

8·· · · A· ··I don't have an opinion --

9·· · · Q· ··Okay.

10·· · · A· ··-- about that.

11·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And then the rule also states that the

12··owner or operator must analyze other factors associated

13··with the public interest.··Is that right?

14·· · · A· ··Correct.

15·· · · Q· ··And correct me if I'm wrong, but my

16··recollection is that with regard to this last factor --

17··that is, factors associated with the public interest --

18··you generally don't consider other factors associated

19··with the public interest unless you're asked to do so by

20··the Executive Director.··Is that right?

21·· · · A· ··That's my recollection, yes, as to our previous

22··discussion about this actually.

23·· · · Q· ··Right.··Maybe a few months ago.

24·· · · A· ··Yeah, right.

25·· · · Q· ··And in this case, did the Executive Director

1··ask you to look at other public interest factors?

2·· · · A· ··No.

3·· · · Q· ··Has the Executive Director ever asked you p

  • 4··look at other public interest factors?

    5·· · · A· ··I don't think that the ED has ever specifically

    6··asked that.··There's certainly in some cases other

    7··factors that are of interest or concern to the

    8··community, and those tend to bubble up in the analysis,

    9··let us say.

    10·· · · Q· ··Okay.

    11·· · · A· ··But I don't recall being explicitly asked by

    12··the ED to evaluate other factors.


    WORRALL PG. 95 (LINES 8-7)

    8·· · · A· ··So one of the concerns that we -- that I became

    9··aware of was that the city of Lockhart, which is some

    10··seven miles away -- off the top of my head, I'll say

    11··it's seven miles away.··I might have to double-check

    12··that number.··Shall I do that?

    13·· · · Q· ··Sure.

    14·· · · A· ··Okay.··Let me do that and then proceed with my

    15··point, if I might.

    16·· · · Q· ··Okay.

    17·· · · A· ··Thank you.

    18·· · · · · · · · No, it's not seven miles.··It's more like

    19··four and a half miles, so I was wrong about that.

    20·· · · · · · · · So one of the things that -- in answer to

    21··your question how that helps us discuss the community

    22··interest is we have -- we would otherwise have no

    23··mechanism within the strict purview of the rules to talk

    24··about Lockhart's concerns because they're beyond one

    25··mile.··So I might be able to talk about them in terms of

    1··growth trends because they're within five miles.··But

    2··the video allows us to talk about land uses beyond one

    3··mile that would not otherwise be addressed in the rules.

    4·· · · · · · · · So the video allows us to analyze, for

    5··instance -- as does the visual analysis impacts -- land

    6··use impacts beyond one mile that might be in the

    7··community interest.


    WORRALL PG. 103 (LINES 10-25)

    10·· · · Q· ··And you've testified that you haven't checked

    11··to see whether a county landfill siting ordinance has

    12··been enacted by the county.··Is that right?

    13·· · · A· ··That's correct.

    14·· · · Q· ··Would you agree with me that a landfill siting

    15··ordinance by a county government reflects the desires of

    16··the county regarding where they believe landfills should

    17··be sited within the county?

    18·· · · A· ··Yes, I would agree with that.

    19·· · · Q· ··And yet you didn't check to see whether there

    20··was one in existence here.··Is that right?

    21·· · · A· ··Not explicitly.··That's correct.

    22·· · · Q· ··Do you know whether Caldwell County has any

    23··development ordinance that would apply here?

    24·· · · A· ··Not that -- that would apply here.··Let me

    25··think.··Not that I'm aware of.


    WORRALL PG. 112-113 (LINES 17-16)

    17·· · · Q· ··Okay.··What about the existence of a

    18··floodplain?··Could that be a land use that could impact

    19··landfill access?

    20·· · · A· ··It's possible.

    21·· · · Q· ··Okay.··Could a dam that's been designated as

    22··high hazard near a proposed landfill, could that be a

    23··sensitive land use?

    24·· · · A· ··Not in the way I'd normally think of a

    25··sensitive land use.··Again, I'm thinking of schools,

    1··hospitals, churches.··That doesn't jump out at me as a

    2··sensitive land use.··It seems to me that it -- you know,

    3··there are other concerns associated with -- what did you

    4··call it?··A high hazard dam?··Is that what you said?

    5·· · · Q· ··Yes.

    6·· · · A· ··That doesn't -- that wouldn't enter into my

    7··analysis as a sensitive land use, per se.

    8·· · · Q· ··Okay.··So just to be clear, when you talk about

    9··this site as being one of the best sites you've seen in

    10··your career, these are not factors you're considering:

    11··floodplain, the impacts of a floodplain on access, high

    12··hazard dam, the proximity of a high hazard dam.··These

    13··are things you just don't consider?

    14·· · · A· ··I generally don't consider those in any of the

    15··land use analyses I do, so the statement stands as it's

    16··written here.


    WORRALL PG. 126-127 (LINES 1-24)

    1·· · · Q· ··Can you -- do you know what the rate of

    2··community growth is?

    3·· · · A· ··Well, you know, I wouldn't call it "community

    4··growth."··I will tell you that we know that we went from

    5··126 residences in 2013 to 143 residences in 2015.··So we

    6··know it increased by 17 residences over two years.

    7·· · · Q· ··Okay.··Are you familiar with the new Alma

    8··Brewer Strawn Elementary School?

    9·· · · A· ··Yes.

    10·· · · Q· ··And that was just recently constructed, wasn't


    12·· · · A· ··Yes.··I believe the kids get to go to school

    13··there next Monday for the first time.

    14·· · · Q· ··Okay.

    15·· · · A· ··That's kind of exciting, I would think.

    16·· · · Q· ··And can you tell us where it is in relation to

    17··the proposed landfill?

    18·· · · A· ··It's about two and a half to three miles east,

    19··northeast, I would say.

    20·· · · Q· ··Is it along 1185?

    21·· · · A· ··That's right.··Beyond a mile, so you won't see

    22··it in any of those analyses.

    23·· · · Q· ··Is it fair to say that schools are usually

    24··located in areas where growth is anticipated?

    25·· · · A· ··I don't know.

    1·· · · Q· ··Okay.··Wouldn't you agree that the development

    2··of a new elementary school generally attracts or spurs

    3··residential growth?

    4·· · · A· ··Well, I think it does to some degree.··I think

    5··it is also in response to growth.··So I'm not sure, you

    6··know, it's not that clear if it's a causative -- you

    7··know, what the causal relationship is, I guess.

    8·· · · Q· ··Okay.··But elementary schools do not generally

    9··attract industrial growth.··Isn't that right?

    10·· · · A· ··Generally, that's true, although -- I mean,

    11··generally that's true, yes.

    12·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And is it also generally true that

    13··highways affect growth trends?

    14·· · · A· ··Yes.

    15·· · · Q· ··Isn't it also true that landfills, on the other

    16··hand, they tend to pull market demand down?

    17·· · · A· ··Market demand for what?

    18·· · · Q· ··For development, residential development, for


    20·· · · A· ··Maybe for residential development but not

    21··necessarily for other types of urban development.

    22·· · · Q· ··And, in fact, the visibility of a solid waste

    23··facility could impact growth trends.··Isn't that right?

    24·· · · A· ··It could.




    WORRALL PG. 131-133 (LINES 18-14)

    18·· · · Q· ··Okay.··What about when looking at land uses?

    19··Is it also more useful to look beyond a mile and look at

    20··the larger context?

    21·· · · A· ··Not -- not as much, I don't think, again, for

    22··the very simple reason the TCEQ doesn't require us to do

    23··that.··Now, in some cases, as I said, we do look beyond

    24··a mile.··But, frankly, it gets very difficult to do so

    25··because, of course, the area that you have to examine

    1··increases by the square of the distance.··So it starts

    2··to become a real huge task.··As you change the radius,

    3··of course, it goes from one mile to five miles, it goes

    4··from, let us say, one square mile to 75 square miles.

    5··It's a big difference.··So as a rule, because the TCEQ

    6··doesn't require it, we don't do it.

    7·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And that's why, for instance, we didn't

    8··see any mention of the elementary school into your

    9··discussion of land uses.··Right?

    10·· · · A· ··That's correct.··And, of course, it wasn't

    11··there initially anyway, and it's just now being

    12··completed.··So you wouldn't have seen it in my initial

    13··analysis, I don't believe.··You would have seen it in my

    14··secondary analysis -- or my updated analysis, had I been

    15··required to go out that far, but I was not and did not.

    16·· · · Q· ··Okay.··So on Worrall 3, Page 5, you include a

    17··discussion about how Caldwell County is growing at the

    18··slowest rate of the five counties in the Austin MSA.


    20·· · · A· ··That's correct.

    21·· · · Q· ··And you have a chart here that shows that it's

    22··growing at 17 percent.··Right?

    23·· · · A· ··That it did grow 17 percent from 2000 to 2010.

    24··That's correct.

    25·· · · Q· ··Right.··And is it your intent to depict or to

    1··state that the growth rate of 17 percent is a slow rate

    2··of growth?

    3·· · · A· ··Certainly relative to the other counties in the

    4··MSA, again, from a historical point of view.··I believe

    5··in my testimony I updated that to indicate that Caldwell

    6··County is no longer the slowest growing county in the

    7··MSA, which was that very correction that I talked about

    8··in my testimony.

    9·· · · · · · · · So relative to the others, yeah, it's


    11·· · · Q· ··It's no longer the slowest growing county?

    12·· · · A· ··That's my recollection, yes.

    13·· · · Q· ··Okay.··Which is the slowest growing?

    14·· · · A· ··I believe it was Travis County.


    WORRALL PG. 150-152 (LINES 2-12)

    2·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And so when we look at the third

    3··paragraph down, it says, Within five miles of the

    4··site -- I'm reading about mid-sentence -- population

    5··growth from 2000 through 2010 was uniformly less than

    6··5 percent.

    7·· · · A· ··Correct.

    8·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And if we make the correlation here to

    9··your maps that's attached, we would look at Page -- it's

    10··the third and final map of that section.··Right?

    11·· · · A· ··Right.··It's labeled LU-3, I believe is the one

    12··you're talking about.

    13·· · · Q· ··LU-3.··And this is the 2000 through 2010 growth


    15·· · · A· ··Correct.

    16·· · · Q· ··And so we see on this map the dark red

    17··indicates a growth trend in various areas -- if you look

    18··at Buda, Kyle, parts of Austin near Creedmoor -- of over

    19··15 percent?

    20·· · · A· ··Correct.

    21·· · · Q· ··And then we see the same thing for the very

    22··dark orange color which shows growth trends of 10.01 to

    23··15 percent.··Correct?

    24·· · · A· ··Correct.

    25·· · · Q· ··In various places.

    1·· · · A· ··Right.

    2·· · · Q· ··So if we looked back at the number of

    3··residences, according to your exhibit, and you're

    4··driving-around inventory, that's 17.··So from 126 to

    5··143, my math shows that's about a 13.5 percent increase.

    6··Does that sound fair?

    7·· · · A· ··Yes.··Let's -- I believe your math, yes.

    8·· · · Q· ··Okay.··So if you'll agree with me it's like a

    9··13.5 percent, then we would see this map would look very

    10··different for the growth trends within the last two

    11··years.··We'd anticipate seeing that dark orange color

    12··within a one-mile radius of the facility.··Right?

    13·· · · A· ··You built a lot -- packed a lot of assumptions

    14··into what you're saying there.··And it is very hard to

    15··compare what you're saying to the growth data here

    16··because this is data by, as I recall, census block

    17··group.··Right.··So if we look at the census block

    18··groups, which are pretty large out here, and you put

    19··those 13 -- 17, excuse me -- new residences in that

    20··block group, I don't know that we know what that would

    21··look like.··So I can't -- you're using a little bit

    22··apples and oranges here.

    23·· · · Q· ··Okay.··But you would agree with me even using

    24··the apples and oranges, this data isn't showing the

    25··coloration for one mile within the facility or even five

    1··miles within the facility.··You actually emphasize kind

    2··of the point I was going to make next is, these are

    3··census blocks.··So you're pooling larger places of

    4··population to even come up with these colors?

    5·· · · A· ··That's correct.··They're aggregated.··Right.

    6·· · · Q· ··So then if we only looked specifically at what

    7··had occurred in the last several years rather than going

    8··back six years and even 16 years to 2000, we would see

    9··the colors would look differently --

    10·· · · A· ··It would look different, no doubt about that.

    11··But it's very hard to anticipate how they would look




    WORRALL PG. 154-156 (LINES 6-24)

    6·· · · Q· ··Okay.··So if I'm looking at the facility due

    7··north, you have four circles of red that shows several


    9·· · · A· ··As being constructed within the last two years

    10··when that analysis had been updated.

    11·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And same thing if I'm looking kind of

    12··almost northeast or almost east.··There's one big circle

    13··that shows quite a few residences and a commercial

    14··establishment that have been constructed.

    15·· · · A· ··That's correct, in a subdivision out there.

    16·· · · Q· ··Okay.··And you didn't go back to Caldwell

    17··County to look at how large that subdivision was or any

    18··other permits that have been approved for that area?

    19·· · · A· ··Correct.··I just looked at them in the flesh.

    20·· · · Q· ··And I would make that same assumption if you

    21··look just southeast, off Barth Road, where there's a

    22··collection of houses.··I know none of them you've

    23··indicated as new --

    24·· · · A· ··Correct.

    25·· · · Q· ··-- you've not gone back and reviewed any

    1··proposed subdivisions along Barth Road or septic permits

    2··in Caldwell County?

    3·· · · A· ··Correct.

    4·· · · Q· ··Okay.··Ms. Perales asked you a question about

    5··Strawn elementary?

    6·· · · A· ··Yes.

    7·· · · Q· ··What data did you review concerning the

    8··construction and the proposed capacity of Strawn


    10·· · · A· ··The only information I looked at was the

    11··website information contained -- or that Lockhart ISD

    12··website information about Strawn.

    13·· · · Q· ··And did that provide you any information to

    14··update your report on growth trends in the area?

    15·· · · A· ··No, it did not.

    16·· · · Q· ··And did you do any analysis on Plum Creek


    18·· · · A· ··No, I did not.

    19·· · · Q· ··Do you know if the landfill site is in Strawn

    20··elementary or if it's in Plum Creek elementary?

    21·· · · A· ··The attendance zones, you mean?

    22·· · · Q· ··Yes.

    23·· · · A· ··I believe it's in the Plum Creek attendance

    24··zone, currently.··They didn't used to have attendance

    25··zones, I don't think.

    1·· · · Q· ··And now with the change in Lockhart ISD with

    2··attendance zone, do you know what Lockhart ISD is

    3··anticipating the growth within those two attendance

    4··zones of Strawn elementary and Plum Creek elementary?

    5·· · · A· ··No, I don't, but I do want to be clear that the

    6··Strawn attendance zone does not include the landfill

    7··area at all.··It's to the north and east of the


    9·· · · Q· ··Okay.

    10·· · · A· ··But I do not know the projections for those

    11··elementary attendance zones.

    12·· · · Q· ··So that's not data that you looked at for

    13··either one of those --

    14·· · · A· ··Correct.

    15·· · · Q· ··-- in looking at your land use compatibility?

    16·· · · A· ··That's correct.··Well, so I looked at it, but I

    17··would be hard pressed to point -- you know, I

    18··couldn't -- there's no reference to it in here


    20·· · · Q· ··Do you know if Plum Creek is within five miles

    21··of the proposed landfill site?

    22·· · · A· ··Within five miles?

    23·· · · Q· ··Yes.

    24·· · · A· ··No, I do not know.



    WORRALL PG. 174-175 (LINES 7-6)

    7·· · · Q· ··Can you tell me how close the screening berm is

    8··to that residence?

    9·· · · A· ··Which part of the screening berm, any

    10··particular part?··Because it's kind of variable.··You

    11··see the screening berm obviously turns the corner there.

    12·· · · Q· ··I guess, what is the -- what do you believe to

    13··be the closest part.

    14·· · · A· ··Okay.··The closest?

    15·· · · Q· ··Yes.··Correct.

    16·· · · A· ··Okay.··I would say approximately 80 feet.

    17·· · · Q· ··And the screening berm could possibly be up to

    18··50 feet tall?

    19·· · · A· ··At the highest point.

    20·· · · Q· ··At that height and at that close of a distance,

    21··could the berm cast a shadow over the -- that residence?

    22·· · · A· ··No, I don't believe so.

    23·· · · Q· ··You don't believe so?

    24·· · · A· ··No.

    25·· · · Q· ··Okay.··Can a berm be too close to a residence

    1··where it would create a nuisance?

    2·· · · A· ··Yeah, I think it probably could.··Sure.

    3·· · · Q· ··Would you believe this berm is -- had -- at a

    4··close distance would create a nuisance?

    5·· · · A· ··No, I don't believe so.··I think it's




    WORRALL PG. 178 (LINES 2-21)

    2·· · · Q· ··You said they were useful indicators, but they

    3··didn't describe what was actually happening out on the

    4··ground.··I'm probably not being as artful as you.

    5·· · · · · · · · But you don't know if the septic tank

    6··permits describe whether they're residential or

    7··commercial because you didn't go pull any.··Correct?

    8·· · · A· ··Correct.

    9·· · · Q· ··And you didn't pull any subdivisions that had

    10··been approved out in the one-mile radius to determine

    11··whether it was residential subdivisions or commercial.


    13·· · · A· ··Correct.

    14·· · · Q· ··And same thing with any type of building

    15··permits or Caldwell County development plan requirements

    16··as to whether they are residential development or

    17··commercial development out in that area because you

    18··didn't pull any of those either.··Correct?

    19·· · · A· ··I did not use those sources of data --

    20·· · · Q· ··Okay.

    21·· · · A· ··-- to does the land use analysis.