Friday, January 20, 2012

Contamination Acceptance Runs High in Odessa

By: Duane Craig

Odessa, Texas, is largely unconcerned with the contamination and environmental issues left behind by Flint Hills Resources, and if the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rules favorably on the company’s municipal setting designation, it won’t have to clean up the lingering groundwater contamination.

The company had 54 years of refinery and chemical activity at its plant near Odessa and, oops, there was some benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, styrene and naphthalene that got into the groundwater. But few are concerned because the TCEQ is on the scene monitoring things just to be sure everyone’s well water stays safe.

Because the plume of contamination is not moving and Flint Hills has been pumping the stuff out for 10 years, it seems all but final that the TCEQ will release the company from doing any more cleanup. Residents in Odessa trust Flint Hills and the TCEQ, with one woman claiming she never had any concerns the contamination would reach her well.

Meanwhile, residents near the facility are busily switching from municipal water to well water. Nearby streets include Pool Road, South Dixie Boulevard, East San Benito Drive, East Hammett Drive, Hammett Drive and South Grandview Avenue.

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