Possible Source Located for Chromium Contamination in Water

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - EPA officials have found a possible source for the chromium contamination that's affecting several residents' water in South Midland County.

In a surprising twist, this possible find dates back to the 70's.

A plant that closed decades ago is now coming back in the picture as the possible reason for the groundwater contamination.

Midland County commissioners heard a presentation from EPA officials explaining what they've found so far.

After months of drilling wells and testing water samples, EPA officials found a possible source for the chromium that goes back several decades.

"There is a past release at the Texas Plastics facility," EPA Project Manager, Vincent Malott, said. "That's located to the northwest of where see most of the groundwater contamination to date."

On Monday, Malott told Commissioners that possible source is spreading.

"We see the chromium migrating from northwest to southeast," Malott said. "We have the predominantly highest concentrations, south of the Interstate and that's what's impacted all the private wells in that area."

Malott told NewsWest 9, based on historical pictures, they're looking to see if old caliche pits in the area added to the chromium spreading.

"They act as recharge windows for the aquifer in that area," Malott said. "We want to understand how the recharge has effected the chromium transport in the aquifer itself."

Commissioners approved the drilling of eight more wells west of the Horseshoe Arena to monitor the situation.

"This should culminate their mapping and then they can get on with clean up," Midland County Judge, Mike Bradford, said.

Judge Bradford said it's important to note the Horseshoe Arena runs on city water. Their property is not contaminated and neither is the Trace Engines property.

Judge Bradford also said he's pleased with the EPA's cooperation throughout the investigation.

"The residents know that progress is being made," Judge Bradford said. "The goal is to help those citizens get some better sources of water and get the contaminant out of the area south of the Interstate."