Bellevue Lake Pumped Dry; Residents Upset

A Texoma lake, once a hot spot for local residents, is now an eyesore.  A few weeks ago water from the lake in Bellevue was pumped out for oil purposes and all that remains is dead fish.

You first told Newschannel 6 about the problem through Facebook so we took a look at the issue.

The lake is owned by Ron Yandell, a lawyer from Wichita Falls.  He has owned the lake for the past 20 to 25 years, he says he too was surprised that all the water was gone.  A local oil producing company called Canan Operating purchased 200,000 barrels of water from the lake, so the company can use it for fracking in another area.  Yandell says he had sold water in the past, but had no idea they would literally pump out all the water.

"It's always been a place where that if you knew that if you passed by somebody might be out there fishing," said Nora Hodges.  "You catch, Bass, Crappie, Catfish," said resident Roy Criswell.

Now the only thing to catch is an eye full of dead fish and an unbearable scent.

"The smell has been horrible," said both Hodges and Criswell.

It has angered many Bellevue residents who are simply upset that the once beautiful lake has turned into a sewer of dead fish.

"I saw one sign of life in the whole mud hole and that was a snake," said Hodges.

For more than 50 years the lake was the place for families to hang out and enjoy a good time, but it's also privately owned, so when Mr. Yandell the lawyer from Wichita Falls was contacted by Canan Drilling to sell the water-like he had in the past-he accepted the offer.  Except this time things went too far.

"It made me feel kind of bad that anybody would do that to a lake," said Criswell.

TCEQ Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was out there last Friday gathering a report to determine if anything had been violated and they are still investigating the case.  For residents there's not much they can do about it, though Roy Criswell does have a few choice words for the lawyer.

"I'd like to see him have to clean it up, do about 280 hours of community service to clean the lake up with a shovel and wheel bar."

Mr. Yandell was out of town so he could not speak to us in person only over the phone.  He says it was not done on purpose.  He has been in contact with a company out of Jacksboro who is looking into deepening the lake so when it rains some water may be retained.

We will continue to follow this story.  Once TCEQ finalizes the report we will notify you.  Newschannel 6 did try to contact the oil company Canan Operating, the person who is handling that area is out of town.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.