By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - The work is on to clean up contaminated well water for at least a dozen homes in Midland. Homeowners have been holding off on the showers, and turning off the taps with hopes that state officials will act quickly.
Kay Sathre, who lives south of I-20 on County Road 114 West, told NewsWest 9 Friday some of her water might appear clear, but she knows for a fact, it is contaminated with Chromium.
"We're not taking showers. We can't even brush our teeth with the water," Sathre explained. "So, we're buying bottled water for all our drinking and washing teeth, and then going over to my son's house to do our laundry, wash our dishes, and bathe ourselves."
Sathre says it all started in April when she and other neighbors near County Road 112 and 114 got a letter from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) warning them about high amounts of Chromium in the water.
Jed Barker, the TCEQ regional director, said so far twelve homes south of the Interstate were indentified as contaminated.
"So right now, even though we have scowered the area, we have yet to find the smoking gun. We haven't found the source," Barker said.
Barker says Chromium can cause lung damage and skin irritation, but he says so far the amounts are not lethal.
Nevertheless, Sathre said her green bath water tells the whole story, and she's worried about her family and other neighbors.
"That's what I'm worried about is the people that don't even know what's going on," Sathre added. "Because they've only informed this small little bit right here."
"We need to find out where the water is contaminated, and we need to get filters on their water, which is what we are doing," Barker said.
So far, workers have installed filters for residents on County Road 112, but there are still plenty, like Sathre, who have not been paid a visit.
"And after we do get the filter put on, I will be checking it myself," Sathre said. "Until I get that assurance, I won't be touching the water for anything."
Barker said if you haven't gotten your filter yet and you live in the area, you should act with caution.
"We certainly would discourage anybody from drinking the water," Barker explained. "Bathing for a short period of time, shower for a short period of time, that would be acceptable, but as soon as we get the filter on, then they can completely use the water for whatever uses they want."
Workers with TCEQ are expected to be installing more filters next week. Sathre said she hopes it happens quickly, and she's trying to get the word out to more residents in the area.