Midland County Residents Say They're Still Waiting for Clean Water

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - It's been three years since South Midland County residents started dealing with chromium contamination in their water wells.

On Monday, NewsWest 9 reported EPA officials located a possible source for the contamination.

On Tuesday, NewsWest 9 spoke with homeowners affected by the tainted groundwater. They said they're fed up and still frustrated the problem hasn't been fixed.

That's the feeling of many residents south of the Interstate in Midland County.

Three years ago, chromium was detected in their drinking water.

The TCEQ gave residents water filters that have to be changed every three weeks.

The EPA drilled wells to monitor the situation.

Kay Sathre, along with several others NewsWest 9 spoke with, said they still won't drink their well water, even after getting letters saying the filtered water is safe.

"It smells like kerosene, you gotta shower in this for the first three days until the smell goes away," Sathre said. "It's just horrible."

Troy Null tells NewsWest 9 life hasn't been the same ever since.

"Since then, it's been a real hassle going back and forth to town and deal with getting water with the way gas prices are," Null said. "You can't really cook with it so you have to buy enough so you can cook with it and drink."

The water coming out of a hose looks clear but when homeowners pour it into a bucket the water is green. Three years later, residents say the problem has only gotten worse.

"When we first started we were at about 350 parts per billion," Sathre said.

Sathre said their latest readings show that number has doubled.

Here's the difference between contaminated and filtered water.

"My favorite question is what is the color of water, because it has been three years since we've seen clear water," Sathre said.

Null believes the contamination affected more than just his water.

"I had a condition and I had to have parts of my skin tissue removed," Null said. "They're thinking that it's gonna happen to my right side. They were saying that it's possible that the chromium played an important role in it."

On Monday, EPA officials said they found a possible source for the spreading chromium at the former Texas Plastics facility. The plant shut down back in the 1970's.

These neighbors are hoping the new find will bring their nightmare to an end.

"I think if we keep fighting and fighting, we will eventually get our water," Sathre said.

"It makes me feel good," Null said. "It makes me feel like if they found what's going on then maybe we can find some solutions. Maybe even start drinking our water again someday, who knows."