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Environmentalists Critical of EPA’s Dimock Results, EPA Releases Sampling Plan

Susan Phillips / StateImpactPA

Actor Mark Ruffalo speaks at a rally in Dimock, Pa. last December, after water deliveries from Cabot Oil and Gas were halted.

Environmental groups say the EPA jumped the gun by releasing only a handful of Dimock water results before all households’ tests were complete. The Sierra Club issued a statement Thursday night declaring their support for the residents along Carter road who say Cabot Oil and Gas caused their water wells to run foul.

“Again today, the cry for clean water in Dimock was left unheard and Cabot [Oil and Gas] Corp. must be held accountable for the destruction they caused,” said Sierra Club’s Deb Nardone, in a press release.  “The victim families of Dimock know that their water isn’t fit to drink, and the Sierra Club will stand by them until we find a permanent solution.”

Water Defense, a group started by actor Mark Ruffalo, had a more extensive critique of the EPA’s actions.

“We are deeply troubled that EPA Region 3 has allowed its investigation to be employed in the service of the gas industry spin machine before testing is even complete. We call on EPA Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin to immediately release the agency’s test results publicly, so that independent scientists, the public, and the Dimock residents themselves can evaluate the findings thus far.”

The group also questioned the drinking water safety standards employed by the EPA.

“Previous testing of Dimock water has found high levels of contaminants for which safe levels have not yet been established by EPA or DEP, but which are known to present possible health risks, including: naphthalene, phenanthrene, butyl benzyl phthalate, 1-methylnaphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, 2-methoxyethanol, Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate, methylene blue active substances, gas range organics, acetone and ammonia.”

In response to questions from StateImpact, EPA officials said the agency does not publicize individual homeowner sample results. But they did share their sampling plan for Dimock, which includes details of what they tested for.

You can read through that document below. Let us know what you think about the testing parameters the EPA is using in Dimock.

Correction: A previous version of this story quoted the Sierra Club’s Debra Nardone referring to “Cabot Corp.” That is incorrect. Cabot Corporation is a separate company, and has no affiliation with Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation.

 

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