Progress being made with unplugged wells in Pecos County - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Progress being made with unplugged wells in Pecos County

(Source: KWES) (Source: KWES)
Dark blue circles are the flowing San Andres wells, estimated flow rates proportional to circle size. (Source: Gilbert Van Deventer) Dark blue circles are the flowing San Andres wells, estimated flow rates proportional to circle size. (Source: Gilbert Van Deventer)
IMPERIAL, TX (KWES) -

Several wells in Pecos County have been flowing for years from operators who were drilling for oil back in the 1940's and 1950's.

One in particular is what locals are calling Boehmer Lake. But as nice as it looks to swim in, you probably wouldn't want to. 

"What's happening is the San Andres, 2,600 feet or so, as it's coming up under Artesian flow, it's making contact with the underlying Salado formation," said Gil Van Deventer with Trident Environmental. "It's getting saltier as it's coming out."

The water at Boehmer Lake has high levels of TDS and chlorides. That's three times saltier than the Gulf of Mexico. 

Almost six decades later and it's flowing almost 1,500 gallons a minute.

"It's showing signs of incipient subsidence so it's sinking a little slow," said Van Deventer. "There's another risk of a sinkhole collapse that's going to happen."

That's what happened with FM 1053, a well that wasn't properly plugged resulted in a sinkhole, still sinking six inches a year.

"This was all flat," said Ty Edwards with the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District.

They've been working to get the wells plugged up, which can cost $300,000 a well.

"We have been trying to get the railroad commission to plug these wells," said Edwards. "Or get funding to plug these wells. We're going to look for funding about $2 or $3 million."

But so far, there's progress. Two wells out of the 14 wells have been identified by the Texas Railroad Commission, so there's a chance they can receive plugging under their orphan well fund.

"These two wells and an operator so after 90 years or so, some process is being made and hopefully it keeps moving forward."

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