Pennsylvania

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EPA Finds Arsenic in One Dimock Well, But Resident Refuses Water Delivery

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Anti-drilling activists protest the end of free water deliveries in Dimock last year.

The Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of 16 additional water tests from Dimock, Pa. In a short statement, the EPA says none of the 16 water results showed contamination that would require additional federal action. But the agency says one well did contain “elevated” levels of arsenic and offered clean water deliveries. But the resident declined the offer.

A total of 47 tests have been released. The EPA tested about 60 residential water wells in the town that has seen itself become the center of a divisive debate over natural gas drilling. Eleven households are suing Cabot Oil and Gas for contaminating their water wells. Some have been relying on donations from anti-drilling groups for clean water. But other residents say the town’s well water is clean, and have grown weary of the publicity.

The Susquehanna County township lies on top of some of the most lucrative deposits of natural gas within the Marcellus Shale. Currently, there is a moratorium on drilling any new wells in the town. The state Department of Environmental Protection blamed Cabot’s drilling practices for the water well contamination in Dimock. The company says drilling did not alter the aquifer below Dimock. The EPA stepped into the controversy after the state DEP allowed Cabot to stop providing free water to residents. Cabot says the EPA tests reflect their own data.

“The data released today confirms the two earlier EPA findings that levels of contaminants found do not possess a threat to human health and the environment.  Again, these findings are consistent with literally thousands of pages of water quality data accumulated by state and local authorities and by Cabot Oil and Gas.”

The EPA says the water tests are not to determine how any contaminants may have entered the aquifer but to simply provide information on the safety of Dimock’s drinking water. To check out the EPA’s test results for Dimock, visit: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/states/pa.html

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