Friday, August 06, 2010
Wismer Drive Eyesore and Health Hazard Site
There is a piece of property on Wismer Drive between Business SH-146 and Alexander Drive that looks like a cross between a swamp and a hazardous waste site. Standing water, animal bones, dead trees and millions of mosquitoes inhabit this dead zone, as a friend has labeled it. It stinks also. It seriously stinks and since the area has no reason to stop and look, no one stops for a look.
The area has become a topic of discussion on local crime-fighting web forum http://www.hotpursuit.cc, of which I am a long time member. I’ve taken the liberty to write the city government, especially district 6 Councilman, David McCartney and the mayor to find out what can be done to remediate this area.
In a letter in response to a complaint about this property, Storm Water Coordinator for the city of Baytown, Gerardo V. Ruiz, along with Mr. Carroll Mayfield, from the Railroad Commission of Texas (oil field regulators) and Mr. Tom Fereday, representative for Otex Resources, the oil field property owner wrote this about the area:
“I inspected the oil wells and storage tanks for signs of a recent oil spill or leak but found no evidence of such. Otex Resources does not own the land at the intersection of Wismer and South Highway 146, but it too had no evidence of a recent oil spill. The conditions that are found at that property appear to be a result of the topography of the land and not a result of a recent incident. According to Mr. Carroll, the loss of vegetation on the site appears to be from an influx of salt water many years ago.
However, Mr. Fereday expressed the desire to find the lot owner and work with him or her to clean up the area and achieve a permanent fix that will allow the property to drain properly and not hold water.
The property is not ascetically pleasing but no major environmental health violations exist at this time. The standing water does not appear to contain any crude oil and it is not breeding mosquitoes. I will have our public works department drainage division inspect the storm drains in the immediate area to ensure that they are not obstructed and functioning correctly. Clear storm drains may help reduce the quantity of standing water in the area. I will follow up with Otex Resources about the cleanup efforts and will provide updates as they become available.”
I was deep into this area this past May, looking for a geocache of all things and it is the nastiest place in Baytown. I came home and washed my clothes and tennis shoes afterward and I made a video tape of the heavy mosquito activity. The area is indeed a breeding ground for mosquitoes and thus a significant health hazard.
Mr. Ruiz’s statement “but no major environmental health violations exist at this time. The standing water does not appear to contain any crude oil and it is not breeding mosquitoes.” Although accurate at their visit is inaccurate as I have video proof and photos.
I am appealing to our city government and District 6 councilman Mr. McCartney in particular, to rectify this situation. Because of the stagnant surface water, mosquito breeding site, and rotting debris, it poses a serious health and safety issue and needs clear and up to date responses to the public in general.
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