‘Man camps’ creating sewage problem in the Permian Basin

New Mexico

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – The Permian Basin has a sewage problem. The area is best known for its wealth of oil, but with the surge of workers, it’s bringing also comes a potentially dangerous problem.

So-called “man camps” are popping up across Eddy County. Campers, RV’s even buses, are lined up, packed into tiny lots. They’re temporary homes for oil field workers who’ve come from all over the U.S.

However, a majority of these sites have no septic system on-site, meaning there’s no way to dump people’s waste. An interactive map shows more than 140 of these man camps in Eddy County are not meeting state and county liquid waste regulations.

“We do have a liquid waste ordinance that is in effect in Eddy County, so we communicate regularly with the department and work very closely to maintain compliance with those issues,” said Steve McCroskey, Assistant Director of Community Services.

This presents a very serious health concern, as improper disposal of waste can breed disease. It’s something residents who make their permanent home here are concerned about.

“We do get the occasional concerns from citizens on RV parks when they go up in new areas,” said Steve.

Eddy County officials say they are working with the sites to gain compliance, but so far, only about 20% are working toward a resolution. Many others have been cited.

KRQE News 13 tried to talk to some of these “man camp” operators but were asked to leave the property.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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