The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once again stirring up trouble in Dimock, PA by “reopening” a review of Dimock Township water supplies after recent tests from a private testing service hired by Cabot Oil & Gas turned up “gaps” in the data that the EPA wants to explore. This is less than a month after the EPA sent a letter to residents, on Dec. 2, telling them the same test results showed well water in the area “does not present an immediate health threat to users” (see this MDN story for a copy of the letter).
Apparently the EPA is having second thoughts, or someone in the Obama administration has directed them to once again interfere in a state matter.
…in an information sheet provided to residents during visits this week, the EPA wrote that it "has recently received additional Cabot data from residents that merit further investigation." The EPA is now "concerned about" potential gaps in water sampling and test results, the number of water supplies potentially affected, if residents that need them have alternate sources of fresh drinking water, and if residents have any more data to share.
The agency is also surveying residents about the depth, age and history of their private drinking water wells.
The information will be used by the EPA to decide what steps, if any, the agency will take next in its investigation, including possibly taking its own samples from the residents’ drinking water wells, according to the fact sheet.
A Cabot spokesman said the company will provide the EPA with all the data it has collected over several years.
"If there are data gaps, they exist due to lack of access not lack of trying," spokesman George Stark said. "Cabot is confident that the water meets federal drinking water standards, and is committed to installing state-of-the-art treatment systems and resolving this matter."*
*Wilkes-Barre The Citizens’ Voice (Dec 31, 2011) – EPA: Dimock water supplies ‘merit further investigation’