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Families Concerned About Safety and Health Following H2S Blowout

Over 100 families in Gaines County remain displaced as of Friday night after an H2S blowout earlier this week.

CBS 7 News attended a press conference Friday evening put on by the oil company, Tabula Rasa Energy, and learned that several of the families are having a hard time adjusting to the move.

CEO Tracy Evans was still unable to give a date as to when these families would be able to go back inside their homes, however the biggest question and concern many have is if their homes are going to be safe enough to move back into.

Around this time last week, Lucia Salazar and her family of six were nestled up in their home, each in their own beds.

Tonight she can’t help but feel frustrated about the situation they’re all in.

“It hurts me to see my son out here eating instead of us eating at a kitchen table, because we were pretty much kicked out of our house, why, because of carelessness,” Salazar said with tears in her eyes as she stared at her son sitting on the floor eating his dinner at the Red Cross shelter in place. “I honestly think they could have prevented this.”

Salazar is one of dozens who attended Friday night’s press conference. Those in attendance learned that if the weather permits, it could be less than a week before they are allowed to return to their homes.

But with the H2S levels being as high as they are, they have concerns about the aftermath.

“That’s the main concern you know, if they’re going to go in and make it right inside the house, not just try to take a shortcut, and say open the windows, open the doors and let it air out, that’s not ok,” said Richard Rodriguez whose family is among those displaced.

It’s a concern that Evans says his company will be addressing.

“Before anybody goes back into their house their home will be looked at, all the air will be checked, and nobody will be allowed back into their home until it is safe,” Evans said.

In the meantime, Salazar’s family and others have a hotel room to call home.

Tabula Rasa Energy will be holding daily updates for the displaced families at the shelter in place located at 601 S.W. Avenue B in Seminole.

Evans claims they now have all the equipment they need to cap the well and all the old equipment has been removed.

They say if wind conditions continue to stay calm, they will be able to make a lot of progress in the next two days.

Evans also mentioned that the H2S levels at the mouth of the well are at around 250 parts per million. He said his men have still been unable to get a reading for the levels inside nearby homes, but that it is much lower than the well’s reading.

Experts say acceptable exposure levels are usually anywhere between 10 and 20 parts per million.

A casing failure at the well is what caused the H2S blowout early Tuesday morning.

Evans says they will be monitoring the well more closely to make sure something like this doesn’t reoccur.

Source: https://www.cbs7.com/content/news/Families-Concerned-About-Safety-and-Health-Following-H2S-Blowout–361654061.html

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