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Dayton residents allege oil and gas exploration company polluted homes, court documents say

Clare Fonstein, Houston Chronicle  


    May 22—A temporary restraining order has been granted to Liberty County residents, halting the actions of an oil and gas exploration services company that allegedly harmed the residents and turned their household water yellowish with a rotten egg smell.

    The 86 plaintiffs in the case maintain Jay Management LLC polluted their land for several years.

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    The restraining order was granted Thursday and stopped Jay Management's drilling operations on the plaintiffs' properties.

    All of the plaintiffs in the case live in the Cedar Creek Ranch Subdivision in Dayton, where Jay Management owned and operated oil wells.

    The plaintiffs also have said there were significant oil spills and dumping on their properties and the contamination leaked into waterways in recent months, according to court documents. The residents said Jay Management did nothing to clean up the spills, which remained ongoing as of May 9, when the application for the restraining order was filed. The polluted conditions have resulted in residents' sickness, cancer, chronic conditions and a heightened need to monitor health because of the exposure to toxic chemicals, according to the court documents.

    One resident described the water coming out of her faucets, shower and toilets to be a yellow-brownish color with a rotten egg smell. The resident said the water caused her family members to develop skin rashes and blisters.

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    Another resident who also said she had yellowish water in her home said it smelled strongly of petroleum and, as a result, she had been mixing chlorine into the water before every shower. She said her family members constantly suffered headaches, vomiting and stomachaches. She also said there was a giant pool of crude oil outside her home with an unbearable smell, according to court documents.

    Another resident said he owned dogs, cats, chickens, goats and sheep and he lost nine sheep due to the sheep drinking contaminated water.

    The plaintiffs in the case said they endured damages that they believe exceed $1 million, according to court documents.

    The next court date is scheduled for May 30.

    Lawyers representing Jay Management did not respond for comment Monday afternoon.


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