By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND COUNTY - Midland County homeowners with contaminated well water will have to wait a little longer for a long-term solution. On Thursday night, officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) spoke one-on-one with residents, giving them a chance to voice questions and concerns. NewsWest 9 learned more about the investigation, five months after it was first discovered.
So, how widespread is the chromium 6 contamination? At least a mile and a half in length.
"It's pretty obvious from the map is that it does appear to go from a northwest to southeast direction," Robert Patton, with the TCEQ Superfund Section, explained. "But like I said we have to ensure that we at least provide people the opportunity to have their wells sampled within the entire sampling area and we did expand to the east as well as the southeast and north of the site."
Patton said there's no telling how long it will take to figure out the full extent of the contamination. However, he said they are working quickly and focusing on public safety, like making sure filters are installed so people can use their water.
"Most people are just interested in when they are going to get a different water source, and that is one thing that we are working on to indentify and it's a long process," Patton said.
County Commissioner Luis Sanchez said he like other Midland County homeowners are waiting to hear more. In the meantime, he said he is open to suggestions while officials continue the extensive investigation.
"I'm telling them that everything that I'm doing right now is the best that I can do," Sanchez said. "You have to remember that TCEQ is involved, this is their job. All I am is I represent them. I don't work for TCEQ. The specific questions on how the Chromium works and things like that. I'm also learning, just like they are. Again, they are the professionals."
And for all the questions left unanswered on Thursday night including the future of the neighborhood near Cotton Flat Road and Interstate 20, residents will have to wait until the first steps in the investigation are finally finished.
"It's a long process," Patton said. "We'll be here for a while."