Reopening Dimock water investigation, EPA may test wells

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering shipping fresh water to Dimock, Pa., where residents say hydraulic fracturing has been polluting their water.


    Citing newly discovered gaps in data, the federal agency has reopened its investigation into water quality in the Northeastern Pennsylvania town that has become ground zero for the argument over the effects of natural gas extraction.


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    This comes about a month after the federal agency assured residents their water was uncontaminated.

    Dimock resident Craig Sautner said an EPA representative called his wife on Friday to say a private contractor would be delivering water to them. The next day, they got another call saying the water would not be coming.

    “Our heart just sank,” Sautner said, “We’re tired of this roller-coaster ride, we feel like we’re getting ahead now, we’re going to get some nice clean water, and then all of a sudden it gets pulled out from underneath us again.”

    Two other Dimock residents told the Associated Press they got similar calls, but the EPA would not comment on them.

    The Sautners and other Dimock residents have had water delivered to their homes for more than two years.

    Drilling company Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. shipped drinking water until about a month ago, when the state DEP gave the company permission to stop.

    Since then, anti-drilling groups have paid for water delivery to about a dozen households.

    “We’re evaluating next steps including sampling some of the residences’ well water,” wrote EPA spokesman David Sternberg in a statement. “We have not made a decision to provide water at this time.”

    Meanwhile, state regulators just announced faulty natural gas wells also run by Cabot contaminated the water supplies of three other homes in Susquehanna County.

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