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EPA to Stop Water Deliveries to Dimock

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Filmmaker Josh Fox helps deliver fresh water to Dimock residents. Fox's documentary Gasland put the town's water problems in the national spotlight.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it has completed its testing of drinking water supplies in Dimock, Susquehanna County. The EPA says it did find hazardous levels of barium, arsenic or manganese in the water supplies of five households. But the Agency says treatment systems could reduce the amount of toxins to safe levels. As a result, the EPA plans to stop water deliveries to four households, which it had been providing since January. The EPA now says the water in Dimock is safe to drink.
EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin says no more action is needed to protect the public health of Dimock residents, with regard to drinking water.

“The sampling and an evaluation of the particular circumstances at each home did not indicate levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action,” said Garvin through a press release. “Throughout EPA’s work in Dimock, the Agency has used the best available scientific data to provide clarity to Dimock residents and address their concerns about the safety of their drinking water.”

The EPA tested drinking water from 64 homes in the village of Dimock between January and June, 2012. Since January, the EPA has also been providing four homes with fresh water due to concerns over initial testing results.
Eleven households in Dimock say gas drilling by Cabot Oil and Gas contaminated their water supplies and are suing the company. The federal agency stepped in to the controversy after state officials allowed Cabot to stop providing free water to the residents along Carter Road.
The Department of Environmental Protection blamed Cabot’s faulty well construction for causing methane levels to rise in Dimock’s water. But Cabot now says the methane is naturally occurring.
The town has seen itself become the center of a divisive debate over natural gas drilling. And even the EPA’s actions spurred controversy, prompting the head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to write a scathing letter to the EPA.  Some residents have been relying on donations from anti-drilling groups for clean water. But others say the town’s well water is clean, and have grown weary of the publicity.
To read more on the EPA’s investigation in Dimock, click here: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/states/pa.html

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