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May 13th, 2010
Hays County settles suit over Hamilton Pool pollution


The Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously voted to accept the terms of a $3.5 million settlement to end a civil lawsuit that was brought by Hays County and others in November 2007 over pollution of Hamilton Creek and Hamilton Pool caused by construction operations at the Ranches at Hamilton Pool subdivision.

The lawsuit claimed that during land preparation and construction in 2007, faulty construction and design practices and inadequate pollution controls caused massive amounts of sediment from the subdivision to run into Hamilton Creek and ultimately into Hamilton Pool, affecting water quality, aquatic life and the public’s enjoyment of the water. The subdivision lies in both Hays and Travis Counties, and Hamilton Creek runs from Hays County into Hamilton Pool, which is in Travis County.

“Some of this settlement will serve to repay Hays County taxpayers for expenses incurred by Hays County in evaluating damage to Hamilton Creek and pursuing legal action against the polluters,” said Hays County Civil Division Chief Attorney Mark Kennedy, the court’s attorney. “We are fiercely protective of Hays County’s natural beauty and take our responsibility to safeguard the environment seriously. We hope this settlement will serve as a reminder that we, as citizens, all carry that responsibility.”

Hays County stands to receive $425,000 from the settlement. Travis County, which will receive $2.1 million of the settlement, will use those monies to take on the responsibility of cleanup in Hamilton Pool and along Hamilton Creek. The State of Texas will receive $500,000, and three downstream landowners will receive settlements ranging from $95,000 to $190,000.

The lawsuit was brought against Rodman Excavation, Inc. of Frisco and Coldwater Development, Ltd., and engineer Aaron Googins as well as several subsidiaries and associate companies involved in the development. Defendants are due to execute the settlement soon, pending final signoff from their insurance providers.

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