Reese Water Contamination Update - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/14/04

Reese Water Contamination Update

For years, ground water near the Reese Technology Center has been contaminated with a substance called Trichloroethylene which was used as a degreaser for airplane maintenance, when Reese was still an air force base. If consumed the contaminant can damage the kidneys, liver and harm unborn babies. But is it still threat to area residents?

Since it's detection in 1993, Reese workers have been developing wells in the Reese area to contain the chemical. But NewsChannel 11 spoke to the site manager at Reese who says that they still have work to do before they're on safe ground.

The area surrounding what used to be Reese Air Force Base, is now the home of 300 wells. "We extract samples out of the wells, send them to a lab where we can get an understanding of what the contamination may or may not be in the ground water at that location," explains Paul Carroll, site manager for Reese.

Carroll says these ongoing tests keep track of where the contaminated water travels. And with six new wells on they way, residents are concerned that they may be at risk.

"I've been here my whole life and for something like that to happen it's kind of scary and it makes feel unsafe and a little bit uneasy," says Luis Cantu, whose parents live in the area.

Cantu says he noticed the recent drilling around their home and became concerned. "My dad's 56, my mom's 55, it's just one of those things where you're worried about them more than anything else and anything they can go through from drinking the water itself," says Cantu.

But Carroll says that the drilling is all part of testing and cleaning the water to ensure the safety of the residents. "Bottom line is everyone's water is safe. We sample all of the water wells within and outside the area even outside of where the plume is," he assures.

But Cantu says his family isn't taking any chances until he knows for sure that their water is tested and shown to be safe. "As of lately we've been drinking more bottled water because we're just a little nervous about it."

Carroll tells us that the original plan to complete the clean up of the plume was supposed to last 30 years. He says they have a pending contract that will cut the process in half, to 15 years.

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