Williams Production received three permits Thursday to begin drilling gas wells on an existing pad site in the Oak Valley neighborhood

A handful of Burleson residents who live near the site attended the Burleson City Council meeting Thursday when the permits were granted. They attended to learn about and discuss the ramifications of the drilling operations, which are expected to take four to six months.

Because the site is located in a developed residential area, Williams officials promised to take measures to soften the impact the drilling will have on the well’s neighbors. In Burleson, well heads must be at least 500 feet from occupied lots; the closest occupied lot to the Oak Valley well heads is 506 feet away.

To decrease noise during drilling, the pad site, which is located south of Hidden Creek Parkway and east of Hurst Road, will feature sound-absorbing walls 20 feet tall. Council members agreed sound barriers must be erected before drilling can begin.

Safety measures will also be a priority. The drilling company is required to fence the site when the well is finished, in accordance with the city’s new gas well ordinance. Arrangements have been made with Fire Marshal Stacy Singleton to permit emergency access to the site 24 hours a day. Singleton said an emergency-notification system also will be implemented. The automated system will notify area residents with safety instructions in an emergency.

Councilwoman Claudia Humphreys said Burleson residents will reap benefits from the drill site. Money the city receives from the wells — the city leased its mineral rights in the area to Williams — will be put into the parks and recreation department, which owns roughly 18.5 acres included in the Oak Valley Lease Unit.

The city council also took the first step in approving the sale of $40.18 million in bonds, which will be used to fund park improvements, a business park and the Quil Miller sewer line. The council wants to authorize the bonds’ issuance in April.

The city council also dealt with an item tabled at the Feb. 28 meeting concerning water pressure in Sherwood Forest Estates. The system did not meet minimum residual pressure and flow requirements as tested by city workers during times of peak use.

The developer agreed to withdraw his application until he had time to talk with Bethany Water Supply Corp. and formulate a plan to increase water pressure.

Several proclamations were also made at the meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Stuart Gillaspie honored Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties by naming March as Meals Awareness Month.

“It’s just a really good service,” Gillaspie said, noting that his grandmother uses Meals-on-Wheels and cannot speak highly enough of the service.

He also proclaimed March to be American Red Cross Month in appreciation of the hard work Red Cross employees perform in the area.

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