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Health Alert: Strong Chemical Odor Sickens Staff at Preschool Playground next to Total Drill Site

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

On Tuesday, December 14, children and staff at the preschool playground next to Total’s AC360 gas well site in Arlington smelled a strong, chemical odor. A truck was operating right over the preschool fence by a tank battery at the drill site at the time. One staffer got nauseous, and another person felt dizzy and lightheaded.

This comes just two weeks after Arlington City Council passed a preliminary vote to approve 3 more gas wells at the site, reversing a decision to deny those permits last year because of the potential health impacts on children at the preschool and on residents living nearby.

The city will hold a final vote on the 3 gas well permits on January 4.

A French TV crew was filming in the preschool playground at the time and caught the odor incident on camera.

The preschool director called the TCEQ and filed a complaint. They sent an inspector later that afternoon. He did not stop by the preschool to talk to them or to give them any information he had from his testing. The TCEQ later tweeted that while their investigation was continuing, they did not find high readings of toxic chemicals when they arrived.

This is what Arlington residents live through every day.

People living next to drill sites suffer toxic exposure and experience health impacts. If they call TCEQ–most residents are unaware of how to do so–,by the time the TCEQ arrives, much of the physical evidence of emissions has blown away. We need a state environmental regulator that takes pollution complaints seriously.

In order to monitor and track the pollution from Total’s drilling that the preschool children are experiencing every day, we need 24/7 fence line air monitoring with community oversight, data reported in real time, and severe penalties for companies that exceed emissions limits and make neighbors sick.

This incident makes it clear that expanding drilling next to preschools is dangerous. You can use our Action Toolkit and learn more about how to oppose permitting of these 3 gas wells.

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