Midwest Teachers and Students Reported Illness from Well Leak

AP  11-30, 2016

Dozens of students and teachers at a school in a small Wyoming town say they fell ill with a variety of symptoms while they breathed gases from a leaky oil well last spring.

The K-12 school in Midwest has been closed since May 25 after testing showed benzene levels more than 200 times the safe limit.

Many students and staff in a recent Wyoming Department of Health survey say they got headaches, nausea and runny noses during the leak. The symptoms lessened after they began being bused to schools in Casper.

The leaking benzene and carbon dioxide tapered off after a petroleum company re-plugged the problem well in one of the nation’s oldest oil fields.

Plans for a ventilation system could enable the school to reopen next school year.