Cleaning Contaminated Water Wells in Ector County

by Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Contaminated water wells in Ector County. A problem that's plagued homeowners for years. But clean city water, is getting closer to their taps. During the month of June, the Environmental Protection Agency is starting a project to get water to those who need it most.

The EPA has been watching contamination levels around 67th and VFW streets in Ector County for years now. They've been working since 2005 to get high amounts of nitriate and other chemicals out of the water wells. Now, they're taking the next step to get clean water to those who really need it.

"They are going to extend city water into this area that's affected the most," Freddie Gardner, Ector County Commissioner for Precinct One, said.

Most Ector County residents who live near VFW and 67th streets get their daily water from underground. Now, more than two dozen of them will see some relief from possibly dangerous chemicals.

"And EPA, they will oversee the project as far as putting in the water lines, they'll pay for the water lines to the folks houses," Gardner explained.

Gardner said workers are especially focused on cleaning public water wells.

"They'll put some wells in that will bring that water to the surface, and go through a filtration system, and then back down into the ground," Gardner added.

Justin Smith, the owner of The Fish Bowl on 67th and Dixie, said he like many of his neighbors have their own private water well. While some may not test their water regularly, he said with this store, he doesn't have a choice.

"You can't run a fish business with bad water. so we have to test our water periodically, taking over the business, or the company, we have to have our water tested to make sure that it's good," Smith said.

Gardner hopes other residents in the area will keep a close eye on their water source.

"The regulations weren't as strict then as they are now, so there could even be some leaking into the water wells from the septic system, so it's good for people to have their water wells tested periodically," Gardner explained.

He expects workers to have the water lines finished in about 90 days. In the meantime, he said, it will take even longer to completely clean up all the chemicals underground.