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Skidmore neighbors worry foul odor is affecting their health

Residents said the smell is coming from a property off FM 615 that is storing oil in fracking tanks.
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Posted at 7:29 PM, Jan 19, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some neighbors off FM 615 in Skidmore raised concerns over a foul odor in the area they said is affecting their family’s and pets’ health.

Residents said the smell is coming from a property that is storing oil in fracking tanks.

“It was so bad I started gagging,” neighbor Debbie White said.

“So bad that it goes down all the way to 181,” one resident, who didn’t want to go on camera, said.

“It smells like propane,” another neighbor said off-camera. “Like a gas.”

“It was a horrific,” White said. “Excuse me. It was a horrific smell.”

White and others KRIS 6 talked to said they’ve been smelling the odor for about six weeks and it’s made them sick.

“My throat is raw and my stomach is nauseated,” one neighbor said. “It seeps into our house. Even with the windows closed and the water wells we have.”

That same neighbor said they’ve seen a lot of activity on the property in question mostly at night.

“Three or four 18-wheelers every other day,” a neighbor said.

That same neighbor who didn’t want to go on camera said he recognized the odor from a certain chemical.

“It separates the water,” he said. “Then it settles down and then they pump the water out and throw it to another container on the side and this one stays nothing but oil.”

He said he recently saw trucks empty the tanks but the smell has lingered behind.

Residents said it’s not the landowner, but someone who is leasing the land, that is using the tanks.

“They were here Tuesday,” a neighbor said about the Texas Railroad Commission paying the property a visit. “They wanted the documents.”

The owner told KRIS 6 News, he couldn’t answer any questions.

“If you can hear the raspy-ness in my voice,” White said. “It’s because it’s hard to breathe and it’s affecting my animals. I have six dogs and every single one of them has been throwing up.”

“A whole week and I was vomiting,” another neighbor said. “I tried to eat but I was just throwing it up.”

“We have seniors out here that have cancer,” White said. “My husband has upper respiratory problems.”

“What I’m worried about is my granddaughter,” a neighbor said. “They got a baby coming out and his family.”

KRIS 6 reached out to the TCEQ and received the following response:

"On December 27, 2022, TCEQ’s Corpus Christi Regional Office received a complaint alleging odors from the referenced property located on CR615 in Skidmore (Bee County). In response to the complaint, an on-site complaint investigation was conducted on January 4, 2023. Subsequent to the on-site investigation additional complaints for the same alleged issues were received. The investigation is ongoing and is not yet complete.

Additionally, the TCEQ Corpus Christi Regional Office has been in contact with local county officials as well as the Texas Railroad Commission regarding the allegations. 

KRIS 6 received the following response from the Texas Railroad Commission:

The Railroad Commission and TCEQ have been onsite investigating the tanks.

"We are working on determining the type of operation that used the tanks and who is involved. At the time we went out there, the tanks were empty. It’s an active investigation."