"In January and February this year, utilities workers detected xylene in our waste water treatment plant, the Bob Derrington Water Reclamation Plant”, says Odessa Public Information Officer Andrea Goodson.
Xylene is a flammable hydrocarbon obtained from wood and coal tar. A common chemical used in the oil industry. An ample amount was found that caused disruption, but not enough to be out of compliance by the state.
"The result of that started an investigation in coordination with the police department's environmental officers as well as the Ector county attorney's office, environmental officers", said Goodson.
The lawsuit filed by Travis County says that Roywell Services Incorporated used equipment to lift a manhole cover and pour xylene into our city's sewer system, apparently 90 barrels worth. Each barrel contains nearly 31.6 gallons. Some of this hazardous material could connect with our water.
"Some of that is going to go into the Monahan’s draw, and then part of the property was located in Ector County outside of the incorporated city limits", said Goodson.
The waste could back up into the Colorado River and ultimately into the Gulf Coast. According to the lawsuit, some of the chemicals have leaked into the some parts of Ector County along Interstate 20.
"The City of Odessa’s water reclamation plant prohibited the organisms that are used out at the plant from breaking down the ammonia that's in the waste of the water", said Goodson.
"Those high levels of ammonia are not a good thing for aquatic life", said Goodson.