04/12/07 9:13am

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Here’s another Texas tale about discovering oil on your property—only not the way you’ve probably dreamed about. Don’t we all live on top of former oil fields around here? Many of us do, but in Woodwind Lakes, a relatively recent development inside the Beltway and north of 290, some residents are living on the more toxic and unremediated spoils of a former gas processing plant. Houston Press writer Todd Spivak unearths the gooey details:

The Brookses . . . hired Klein, a licensed geologist, to take more soil and groundwater samples from their backyard. The results were chilling.

Klein found elevated levels of benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene and acetone. Total petroleum hydrocarbons were detected as high as 23,000 milligrams per kilogram — more than twice the level deemed safe by state regulators.

Worst of all: A layer of hot, oily sludge was discovered just one to four feet below the surface. Touching the sod or breathing the air likely exposed them to dangerous contamination, Klein says.

There’s real drama here, but we’re only scratching the surface: What about the strange rashes on pets, the angst over diminishing property values, the vicious feuds among neighbors? It all highlights how easy it can be to put up fancy Houston homes just about anywhere. So many tiny scandals wrapped up in this spicy story: