WHITEWATER, Colo. A fracking wastewater disposal site near Whitewater is causing a big stink. Neighbors in the area complain of a horrible odor from the plant, and say they have been battling with it for two years to no avail.
The smell, they say, is coming from fracking wastewater that is brought to the Deer Creek Disposal site to sit and evaporate. Neighbors complain that the smell is of chemicals and metal that they can even taste sometimes.
“We can’t even sit there in the evenings when it’s hot and have our door open without being just smothered, literally smothered by the smell,” said Tom Painter, who lives less than a mile from the site.
“I’ve experienced headaches since we moved out here and a lot of nosebleeds,” said Robert Sanders, who lives in the area.
Sanders says he doesn’t even want to let his children outside for fear of the chemical odor’s long term health effects.
“I’m not going to put my six year old daughter or my young children or even my teenage children at risk because of this.”
Painter says the entire community has contacted the company – Alanco – The Mesa County commissioners and the Mesa County Health Department to no avail.
“We are not being heard, or if we’re being heard, we’re being overlooked,” said Painter.
While Alanco was not available for comment, Mesa County Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr says when they receive complaints; they test the area for toxic odors that exceed state and federal guidelines.
“With the machine we found no levels of odor that were beyond any allowable limits,” said Kuhr.
He says the health department only has the power to conduct field research, which he says they will be doing more of.
“We want to pinpoint what those smells are, and pinpoint the source,” he said. “We want to work with the residents.”
Sanders says they are at the end of their rope and a change needs to be made.
“They need to get other industry professionals in here that know what they’re doing, or dry up the pit.”
Concerned residents are holding a public meeting next Monday May 4th at 7 p.m. at the Land’s End Fire Station. The Mesa County Health Department and Alanco will be in attendance to hear concerns about the site.