On February 27, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) served Cabot Oil & Gas with a “Notice of Violation” claiming Cabot’s drilling activities in the Carter Road area of Dimock Township, PA caused some local private water wells to be contaminated with methane (see the MDN article Cabot Oil & Gas Served with “Notice of Violation” in Dimock, PA). One month later, the DEP seems to have reversed its position.
Buried in the Saturday, March 28 edition of the Scranton Times-Tribune we get the story that recent test results from the DEP show no indication of water contamination due to Cabot’s hydro-fracturing activities in the area. Yes, you read that right. Cabot’s Marcellus drilling activity is not to blame for methane (natural gas) water contamination in the Dimock area according to the PA State DEP.
The DEP will continue testing and monitoring, and Cabot will continue providing water for four homes that it has been providing water to, due to elevated levels of methane in the water. But the DEP seems to have just reversed its position that Cabot is the cause of methane appearing in a few local water wells. Big news that deserves a big headline.
What has the DEP tested for that might indicate hydrofacturing has caused contamination?
Indicators could include total dissolved solids, chlorides, specific conductivity, pH, alkalinity, hardness, sodium, calcium, barium, iron, manganese, potassium and aluminum.
The DEP is promising they will continue to be vigilant in Dimock:
Residents “expressed concern to us that methane wasn’t the only thing impacting their groundwater, their wells,” DEP spokesman Mark Carmon said. “We’ll continue to look at both.”
Cabot spokesman Ken Komoroski said the company is “pleased” that the department has found no indication of wells being tainted from gas well hydro-fracturing activity, and will continue to work with the DEP to ensure the safety and health of residents.
MDN will continue to cover this story as it develops.
Read the full article: Dimock gas wells pass DEP test
Read the full DEP press release: PA DEP Continues to Analyze Dimock Water Supplies