Tag Archive for: cleanup

Noxxe Oilfield Cleanup Starts Tomorrow in Forest Cove

Dean Southward, a spokesperson for the Texas Railroad Commission, confirmed today that cleanup of the toxic mess left behind by Noxxe Oil & Gas near the West Fork in Forest Cove will begin tomorrow. Noxxe abandoned its lease after Harvey flooded the entire field, toppled tanks, and destroyed the stripper-well operation.

The Railroad Commission tried unsuccessfully to get Noxxe to clean up the site for 2.5 years. After Noxxe declared bankruptcy in 2020, the Railroad Commission seized Noxxe’s remaining assets. Aerial photos show those include abandoned tanks, wells, pipe, vehicles, and more. Now the cleanup becomes their responsibility and it will be no small task. See below.

Photos Taken January 1, 2021, Before Start of Cleanup

Abandoned Noxxe well, rusting tanks and a toppled heater treater near Forest Cove Townhomes also destroyed by Harvey.
Another portion of Noxxe’s field lies between the West Fork and the Forest Cove little league fields. The noxious stench of spilled crude could be smelled from the fields and surrounding homes.
The Railroad Commission intends to plug all the abandoned wells.
The site contains about twenty tanks which can be auctioned or cut up for scrap metal.
Topless tanks without netting over them exposed area wildlife and bird to danger.
Home or office on the lease, also destroyed by Harvey. The company also left behind at least two campers.
Closer to the river, Noxxe left behind another well, a drilling rig, a communication tower and five more tanks, two of the toppled. Water on this site is suspect. Aerial photos taken after Harvey show oil swirling in the river.

Thanks for the cleanup go first and foremost to the Texas Railroad Commission, monitors more than 440,000 oil wells in the state. Thanks also go to State Representative Dan Huberty who helped accelerate the schedule once he became aware of the problem.

Noxxe may have a joke name – Exxon spelled backwards. But the mess left behind by the company is no laughing matter. Residents and kids who play baseball in Forest Cove will soon breathe a lot easier.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/18/2021

1238 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Railroad Commission To Start Bidding Cleanup of Forest Cove Oilfields, Even as They Battle Thieves

When Noxxe Oil & Gas declared bankruptcy in February of this year, the company left behind dozens of pump jacks, tanks, trucks and other pieces of oilfield equipment that Harvey destroyed in Forest Cove. The Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) seized the assets but has been slow to clean up the mess. As a result, thieves and TRRC are now engaged in a low-stakes game of tug-of-war – to the victor goes the scrap metal. But the TRRC says it will soon start a cleanup of this site.

Vultures Picking Over Noxxe’s Bones

I ran a story several weeks ago about this heating tower on Marina Drive in Forest Cove. I’ve nicknamed Marina Drive “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” That’s because of the dozens of townhomes destroyed there by Harvey.

Towers like the one below separate oil, gas and water. I had photographed it several times. Then, about a month ago, I noticed it toppled.

The 23-foot tower in question before it toppled. Abandoned after Harvey, it became property of the state after Noxxe’s bankruptcy.

I thought the tower had “fallen.” But an astute TRRC investigator pointed out the steel wire draped over the top of the tank below.

It did not fall down. Someone pulled it down and attempted to drag it off. Photo taken in mid-September.
23 feet of 1.5 inch steel

After a couple cases of beer, I’m sure Jim Bob and Bubba felt this would be pretty light work. But the tower is made out of solid steel that is 1.5 inches thick – about the thickness of Jim Bob’s and Bubba’s brains put together. They had to abandon their efforts – until they got more beer.

Tower in a Tug of War

The thieves later came back and managed to drag the hefty tower into the middle of Marina Drive. See below.

It should be easy tracking down the thieves. Just look for oil stains on the carpet.

But according to the Railroad Commission, the tower weighs 6-8 tons.

Close up shot from the other direction.

“Think that will fit into the trunk, Jim Bob?”

The tower weighs more than two F150s plus a dozen rib dinners from Dickey’s. Translation: that ain’t fitting in the trunk…or a U-Haul, no matter how much beer they brought along. It would squash the tires like roaches.

When notified that the unit was blocking the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and putting dopers in danger, TRRC returned with a tractor and a winch. They tried to haul it off, too, but gave up when it nearly broke the winch. They determined that only a crane will lift it. So they pushed the heater treater back near its original pad. See below.

Back where it started. Photo taken 10/13/2020.

Art of Jungle Warfare Elevated

TRRC then mined the area with thousands of razor-sharp brambles; sweet-gum balls; and twisted, torn chain link fencing. Steel-toed shoes are no match. These defenses could even take out the tires of a dually.

Someone may yet steal this steel. But they will pay a heavy price. TRRC has taken jungle warfare to the next level. Ho Chi Minh could have learned a thing or two from the Railroad Commission.

Forest Cove Cleanup Now Named a Priority Project

According to Dean Southward, the TRRC District Cleanup Coordinator, Noxxe’s Forest Cove Properties have been elevated to the status of a priority project. The Commission’s budget has recycled and Southward says he will soon start bidding the cleanup. Forest Cove homeowners and Little League players will rejoice. Maybe we will hear the Hallelujah Chorus playing by Christmas.

In the meantime, folks, unless you have a very good chiropractor, stay away from the Noxxe Lease.

Thanks to Dan Huberty for his help in getting the TRRC to name this a priority.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/14/2020

1142 Days after Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

New Phase of East Fork Cleanup Begins

Last week, cleanup pontoons motored up and down the East Fork and its tributaries near East End Park in Kingwood. Giant claws mounted on the pontoons plucked downed trees and branches out of the water and off the shoreline. It was all part of a continuing effort by the City of Houston to remove debris that contributes to flooding.

Photo Courtesy of Dee Price. Taken at East End Park where Peach Creek, Caney Creek and East Fork all come together.

Stopping Beaver Dams Before They Start

During floods, the downed trees get swept downstream. They form “beaver dams” that back water up when the debris hangs up on other trees, boat docks, bridges and the Lake Houston dam itself. Removing the debris lowers the risk of flooding and damage.

During Harvey, such debris gathered in supports of the Union Pacific Bridge over the west fork, where it contributed to flooding in Humble.

Union Pacific Bridge immediately after Harvey. Photo Courtesy of David Seitzinger.
Donna Dewhirst’s boat dock received a 70-foot surprise during Harvey.
Rail bridge over Lake Houston after Harvey. Photo courtesy of Donna Dewhirst.
Logs collect at Lake Houston Spillway. Photo taken on 6/16/2020.

Improving Boater Safety

The debris pickup also improves boating safety when lake and rivers are low. Submerged trees can injure and kill boaters and water skiers.

Semi-submerged trees in Lake Houston just north of FM1960 Bridge. Photo taken March 6, 2020.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/21/2020

1028 Days since Hurricane Harvey