“Some of the oil wells here have flares that burn off gas. The smoke rises, and when the rains come, black rain with a rusty smell falls back to earth, contaminating the land and the water.” –Man living near Texaco Parahuaco #2 oil well
While water and soil contamination from waste pits and dumping of produced water are by far the primary sources of environmental damage from Texaco's operation, there are other ways in which local people and wildlife were exposed to dangerous contaminants. Texaco burned the surface of some of its waste pits, using horizontal gas flares. This practice leads to the release of noxious gases into the atmosphere, including benzene, a carcinogen.
Texaco also routinely spread oil on roads in the area, as a means of reducing dust. Compounds within crude oil can evaporate and be inhaled by those traveling on foot on the roads. Furthermore, in heavy rain, oil would wash into streams and rivers.
“To cut down on the dust, Texaco used to spray oil on the dirt road, then scrape it with big machines, and the road was then like asphalt. But when the sun shone, the road began to break apart, and oil bubbled up, and when it rained, oil washed out of it.” -Man living near Texaco Auca oil field