One family remains evacuated after oil well blow out

Bianca Montes By Bianca Montes

May 28, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.

The air quality around an oil well leaking natural gas in DeWitt County is below any level of concern, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials reported.

Devon Energy officials said they were aware the well was leaking since late last week and evacuated its employees and nearby neighbors Tuesday afternoon when an increase in pressure led them to worry about safety. Devon Energy acquired the well in March, according to a news release. All but one family has returned to their homes.

Expenses from the evacuation are being handled by Devon Energy, Tim Hartley, corporate communications, said.

"We are working closely with the DeWitt County Sheriff's (Office) and the Cuero Fire Department to ensure the safety of area residents and to control access to the area, which includes County Road 112, west of U.S. Highway 87," Hartley said. "Devon and local authorities will continue to monitor the situation and will notify area residents of developments as necessary."

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 1600 block of Kozielski Road, about 5 miles south of Westhoff.

Wild Well Control services also was called out to help control the leak.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Hartley said mostly saltwater and natural gas were still leaking, but they were not seeing any crude oil.

Terry Clawson, medial relations manager for TCEQ, said hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas, was detected at background concentrations at four of the six monitoring locations and at two of the locations slightly above background but below any level of concern.



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