Legal Battle Could Soon Begin Over Well Water Contamination in Midland County

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - A legal battle could start as soon as this month over contaminated well water in Midland County. It's being spearheaded by activist Erin Brockovich's group. It comes as news to many Midlanders with chromium tainted water just waiting for some kind of new water source. 

"Right now, we're just stuck here," Franklin Howard, who's well water is contaminated, told NewsWest 9. "If you went to sell you wouldn't set diddly squat for it because you can't grow anything on the property."

It's not hard to find Midland County residents like Franklin Howard hoping something will happen that will fix his contaminated well water. It's been over a year since homeowners near Cotton Flat Road found out chromium six has polluted their water source.

"We've had people whose animals have died in the water," Howard explained.

The contamination is so bad, in the next three months, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will make a push to get the area on the national priority's list, which could mean more resources and money from the EPA. Residents told NewsWest 9 Thursday they're happy as the TCEQ continues to monitor hundreds of wells and add filters. Janet Null and others have found even the filters are also bringing in bigger utility bills.

"They put a filter system on the well, which filters the chromium, but in turn it increases our electric bill by quite a bit," Janet Null said. "Also, we've had to replace our water well pump because it puts such a strain on the actually pump itself."

Null and others are hoping for a new source, like city water. However, city officials told NewsWest 9 talks between city and state officials have not resulted in any changes. That could change if Midland County gets the green light to get on the National Priorities List. Some have also learned activist Erin Brockovich's group will likely make a return to Midland County later this month, and file a lawsuit against several nearby companies like Schlumberger.

For now just like the past few months, everyone's been playing the waiting game, and hoping to hear more concrete plans and a solution.

"I get mad at times over the circumstances, but what else can you do?" Howard said. "There isn't anything else you can do until the big wheels upstairs in the state or government or whoever is going to do something makes a move to make these companies pay for it."

"I just hope that somebody does something," Null said. "To keep us informed is another thing, we don't know what's going on. We haven't heard anything."

According to reports and from what residents are saying, Erin Brockovich's group could come to Midland as soon as July 20th, then file the lawsuit. However, that date is not set in stone. Brockovich and many others have been busy with the gulf oil spill in recent months. As soon as we have the details on their visit and meeting, NewsWest 9 will bring you the latest.