Flint Hills Meeting Leaves Some Residents Still Asking Questions

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

The groundwater at the Flint Hills Plant doesn't meet drinking water standards and instead of cleaning up the contamination, the company wants the city to outlaw using it for bathing, drinking and other uses.

On Tuesday night, a handful of Ector County residents showed up at the Woodson Park Community Center to learn more about the plan.

Right now, the company wants to apply to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a municipal setting designation or MSD.

The status would allow Flint Hills to keep the groundwater below drinking standards, but the city of Odessa has to approve an ordinance outlawing the use of the water first and then pass a resolution to send the application to TCEQ, otherwise it's a no go.

Flint Hills told residents the MSD would not affect their neighbors groundwater or drinking wells.

Despite the meeting, many citizens said they were still unclear how the MSD could affect them personally.

"It wasn't very informative really, a lot of these people don't understand what's going on," Teresa, an Ector County citizen, said. "The people being affected don't know how the contamination will affect them. This is the first time I've heard anything about it and I'm very active in the community."

"If the Council determines this is positive for the citizens and it doesn't detrimentally affect them, it could provide an incentive for other companies to come in," Odessa City Attorney, Larry Long, said. "Of course that means they could create jobs and that would be favorable for the city."

Flint Hills shut down the Ector County Plant in 2009 and is currently trying to sell it. Long says even if the company gets the MSD, it would still be responsible for further contamination.

The Odessa City Council is expected to review the issue at their January 11 meeting and hold a public hearing to hear citizen input.