Midlanders Voice Concerns Over Well Water Contamination

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It's been an emotional week for some residents in Midland County after learning their well water is contaminated with chromium. On Sunday, dozens gathered at the Midland Horseshoe to voice their questions and concerns with an investigator working with Erin Brockovich. He's not painting a pretty picture: He said the contamination may be years in the making.

"The state officials and myself are extremely concerned at these levels. I've investigated over a hundred environmental cleanup sites around the country, and in drinking water and at these levels of exposure, I've never seen anything like this," Bob Bowcock, an investigator with Integrated Resource Management, said.

Bowcock said the chromium contamination south of I-20 near Cotton Flat Road is nothing short of astonishing. Bowcock, who's based in California, said Sunday's meeting gave him a chance to talk to locals about his work to find out where the contamination started.

"This is a large, chronic spill that has probably permanately damaged the local aquifer," Bowcock explained.

He said they're focusing the investigation on large chemical manufacturers for the oil industry. He also added whoever is responsible probably knew about it.

"I've been an emotional train wreck since I found out," Beverly Crouch, a Midland resident with contaminated well water, told NewsWest 9.

It's easy to understand why she is so upset when you look at her pool. The distinct green coloring is the apparent affects of the chromium.

"It's ridicious. It's replusive," Crouch said. "My taxes have progressively gotten higher, and they're charging me for contaminated land."

Crouch is hopeful she and her neighbors will get water filters this week from the state. After Sunday's meeting, however, she is not happy to hear the contamination may have started years ago.

"The people who are responsible for doing this. They knew it happened," Crouch added.

"It's better if they come forward now and start participating in the investigation," Bowcock explained. "Because if they hide, we'll find them and they will pay."

Bowcock said state officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) have done a pretty good job investigating, but said more work is needed. TCEQ officials tell NewsWest 9, they're taking the contamination very seriously and are planning to be back to work on the case on Monday.