Contaminated Water Remains a Hot Topic in Midland County - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/11/09

Contaminated Water Remains a Hot Topic in Midland County

ODESSA- The worries continue to pile up for residents living off Cotton Flat Road after officials discovered chromium contamination several weeks ago.

"I am worried about it. What is it going to do to my property value and everything else," Darrell Moody, a local resident said.

On Tuesday night, residents got more bad news at a community meeting at the Midland Horseshoe.

"The plume is extensive. It's probably at least a mile long it has very very high concentrations," Bob Bowcock, lead investigator working with famed Environmental Activist Erin Brockovich, said the team has found the source of contamination.

"It's relatively simple we drew a straight line North and just followed the water and the water led us to who we are suspecting it is." Bowcock points to Schlumberger, an oil field service company. He claims Slumberger used hexavalent chromium years ago when it partnered with Dow Chemicals.

"We're prepared to ask them some tough questions," Bowcock said.

Company officials issued this statement: "Schlumberger fully appreciates the public's concern and continues to cooperate with the TCEQ to help identify sources of chromium in the area. Chromium has not been used in any of the processes performed at the Schlumberger facilities in Midland, Texas, and independent water samplings indicate that the source is likely an adjacent site unrelated or our facilities."

Texas Commission On Environmental Quality (TCEQ) officials backed up the company's statements. Bob Patton, Jr. with the agency said according to all the files on Schlumberger, there is no record chromium was used at the site.

Still, officials have yet to locate the source of the contamination. Residents like Felicia Acosta remember noticing yellow-tinted water about four years ago.

"It was a really light yellowish. People who live out in the country, we think oh well maybe there is lime at the bottom of the well or something. So you pour something in there like bleach you know let it go through." Sshe said she expected the water to clear up when it did not she didn't think it was anything harmful.

A few years later, Acosta says her water went from yellow to green. Acosta stopped drinking it, but still bathed and cooked with the well water.

"There are a lot of medical things. My arms here," Acosta said pointing to her left arm. "Rashes have come out, stomach problems, a lot of stuff that my doctor doesn't know where it's coming from."

Acosta says since the TCEQ officials placed a filter on her well the strange ailments have improved slightly. Acosta commends the job TCEQ officials are doing.

"It's a tragedy what's happening to all of us, but if we don't let them know, how are they going to help us?" she said.

Just a few blocks away, Darrell Moody noticed his health conditions worsen, but he can't be sure it's related to the contaminated water.

"I have Emphysema and other health problems," Moody said. " I've got some bad headaches. I don't know if this is adding to it or anything else."

Source:NewsWest 9

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