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A Pecos County well has leaked noxious salt water for almost two decades. No one is taking responsibility for getting it cleaned up.


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The Dead Sea of West Texas

A Pecos County well has leaked noxious salt water for almost two decades. No one is taking responsibility for getting it cleaned up.

By Russell Gold

December 8, 2021

About twenty-five miles north of Fort Stockton sits what looks, at first blush, like an oasis amid the West Texas desert. When I recently visited what might be Texas’s newest sizable body of water, its color was a pleasant sea green. A flock of ducks circled in the sky above and landed on the choppy surface.

Yet Lake Boehmer covers more than sixty acres of scrubland with a noxious brew. You wouldn’t want to sate your thirst with its water, which is three times saltier than the ocean, with a sulfate level twenty-five times greater than legally allowed for drinking. Lake Boehmer belches hydrogen sulfide gas, which at low concentrations generates a rotten egg smell and at higher concentrations kills the occasional waterfowl and causes headaches and nausea in humans.

A muddy jetty pokes a couple of dozen feet out into the shallow lake. At its end is a partially submerged cement box around a wellhead. Spouting there is a toxic fountain, a mushroom head of water gushing at two hundred gallons a minute. It first appeared around 2003, :snip: https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/lake-boehmer-dead-sea-west-texas/

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