UPDATE: State Rep. Ron Reynolds address concerns about Wednesday’s gas well blowout

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Updated at 5 p.m. Dec. 18

State Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, held a press conference Monday concerning the gas well blowout that took place Dec. 6, saying representatives from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are still monitoring the air, according to a statement released by Reynolds’ office.

“The gas well blowout spewed a strong odorous gas, hydrogen sulfide, into the air,” Reynolds stated. “When an incident of this magnitude occurs, my number one priority is public health safety.”

Neil Carman, clean air program director of The Sierra Club, an environmental organization, was also present and brought up health concerns related to exposure to hydrogen sulfide.

TCEQ staff are aware of the odor and indicated the levels of hydrogen sulfide detected are below levels that would be a health concern or immediate threat to health and public safety, according to the statement. However, persistent strong odors have the potential to cause headaches and nausea, which residents have reported.

Reynolds will continue to work with TCEQ to address residents’ concerns, according to the statement. He also announced plans to prefile legislation to require TCEQ improve its rules on inspections and leak detections in order to avoid future incidents.

Updated at 4:07 p.m. Dec. 7

The Fort Bend County Hazardous Materials team responded to an oil well blowout Wednesday near Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road and Lake Olympia Parkway around 7:25 p.m., said Alan Spears, Fort Bend County’s Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator.

The county’s hazmat unit remained on site until 10 p.m., monitoring the air quality in the surrounding area and checking readings every 15 minutes. He said that no hazardous chemicals were detected.
Officials have reduced the oil leak and are in the process of capping it to stop it completely, Spears said Thursday.

“It should be done by now,” he said around 3:30 p.m. “But there is a pretty strong smell down there, though, and I’m afraid that’s going to linger for a little while.”

Representatives from the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality were also present.

“[TCEQ] are the ones that usually investigate that kind of thing,” Spears said.

The oil well is owned by Dallas-based company IWR Operating, LLC, Spears said. IWR Operating has contracted two companies to cap the well and to continue monitoring the air quality.

Updated at 9 a.m. Dec. 7

A gas well blowout took place near Texas Parkway and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road Wednesday night.

However, there is no threat to the surrounding community, said Sheldra Brigham, Houston Fire Department’s public information officer.

Posted at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6

A gas well blowout took place near Texas Parkway and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road on Wednesday, according to a news alert from Missouri City. The Houston Fire Department is coordinating efforts to contain the issue, and the odor may affect surrounding communities, according to Missouri City’s website.

“This gas well blowout took place in the city of Houston,” said Cory Stottlemyer, Missouri City’s media relations specialist. “We defer to their representatives on this inquiry. All information we have on the blowout has already been shared with residents through the citizens communication tools.”

It was not immediately clear when the blowout occurred. This story will be updated as information becomes available.

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  1. As of December 21, 2017 the gas well blow-out continues to plague our communities—-releasing this very toxic, horrible and dangerous poisonous compound, hydrogen sulfide. The odor is very strong, especially at night as you approach the exits of McHard Road and Fondren on the Fort Bend Toll Road. I fear for the safety of all of us who reside in the communities surrounding this horrific exposure. We have been told that hydrogen sulfide is a very dangerous chemical, especially for children, with the possibility of causing brain damage, learning disabilities, memory loss as well as serious health problems. This is a very frightening situation!

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Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.
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