Fight Brewing in Dimock over Gas-Fouled Water

by Dee Fulton on October 18, 2011

Cabot wants to resume drilling and fracking for natural gas in Dimock, Pa., one of the locales featured in the acclaimed documentary Gasland.  But residents are not satisfied with the measures that Cabot has taken to remediate the contamination of their drinking water.  Residents noticed problems with their drinking water three years ago, and tests confirmed that the aquifer was contaminated with thermogenic methane gas from Cabot’s drilling and hydrofracking activities.  The contamination is attributed to faulty well casings.

Below are excerpts from the Wall Street Journal on October 15th entitled “Tests: Pa. gas drilling town’s water still fouled.”

After a series of false starts, Cabot, one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus, said it has met the state’s Oct. 17 deadline to restore or replace Dimock’s water supply, installing treatment systems in some houses that have removed the methane.

Residents who have filed suit against Cabot disagree, saying their water is still tainted and unusable. Another homeowner claims the $30,000 treatment system that Cabot put in failed to work.

As recently as May, DEP said nearly half of Cabot’s wells in the Dimock area — 20 of 43 — continued to leak methane, including 14 that DEP said were of the “most concern.” In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Craig Lobins, regional manager in DEP’s oil and gas program, wrote to Cabot that the leaking wells indicate faulty construction and that Cabot had “yet to achieve full compliance” with DEP mandates.

Cabot wants to resume drilling and claims that the company has satisfied its obligation.

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