Lake Boehmer closed due to dangerous hydrogen sulfide levels

The problems with the lake were part of a CBS7 special report in January.
The wellhead has spewed toxic brine water for decades.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 8:28 AM CDT
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IMPERIAL, Texas (KOSA) -UPDATE: The Texas Railroad Commission has released the following statement in regards to Lake Boehmer.

“Recent reports state that a water well believed to be the source of Boehmer Lake in Pecos County in West Texas has been releasing unusually high amounts of hydrogen sulfide.

The RRC has not received any information to support these claims.

The reports state that readings as high as 14,000 parts per million were recorded at the site. Levels above 700 ppm would mean sudden unconsciousness and above 1,000 ppm would result in “nearly instant death,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The RRC has been investigating a prior complaint from the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District to determine whether the water well is affecting oil, gas or freshwater strata or if the well is polluted with mineral water. During a visit in January to Boehmer Lake as part of that investigation, RRC did not detect any H2S.”

CBS7 reached out to the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District for comment on the RRC release. The MPGCD says they stand by their numbers and will be releasing a report on their findings as soon as next week.

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The Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District has fenced off Lake Boehmer, located in Pecos County just outside of Imperial.

CBS7 News has confirmed hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels are present in extreme amounts. These numbers are as follows:

- 14,000 ppm H2S at the wellhead

- 200 ppm H2S at the water’s edge

For reference from OSHA:

1. The legal permissible limit (LPL) for H2S is 20 ppm. It is not to exceed 50 ppm for any 10-minute work period.

2. Prolonged nausea occurs at 2-5 ppm after an extended amount of time.

3. At 200 ppm, prolonged exposure will cause pulmonary edema.

4. At 1,000 ppm, it’ll kill you almost instantly.

Lake Boehmer was featured prominently in the CBS7 special What Lies Beneath, which dealt with the groundwater issues in multiple West Texas counties.

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