Cleaning Up the Massive Oil Spill in Ector County

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

NOTREES - Crews continue to clean up a massive oil spill near Notrees. That's after thousands of barrels of oil and other products were leaked into the ground. And while some progress has been made, there's still a lot of work ahead.

Roughly 14 acres of land has been contaminated by the oil and waste spill. That's the estimate from members of the Texas Railroad Commission. Tuesday, they said they're investigating what could have caused the spill.

They report last week 8,500 to 10,000 barrels leaked into the ground. And they say the spill is anywhere from 4 to 6 inches deep in some spots, and 8 inches deep in others. And the Railroad Commission said Tuesday Westex Notrees are well-underway with the first part of the clean-up.

"Vacuum trucks are a first response method typically," said Mark Henkhaus, the District Director at the Texas Railroad Commission's Midland Office. "Vacuum trucks are trucks that will generate a suction to pick free fluids off the surface of the ground. And that's the first response that we would expect them to take. Any fluid they can get off the surface is less to remediate later."

They said though there is no real danger to anyone directly. The Railroad Commission added no underground water supplies should be affected.

However, the process of collecting all of the mixed soil, then to separate the soil from the waste will take a while. In fact, it may take up to several months or up to a year to get it all cleaned up.