EPA to begin water sampling in Pa. town

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Jan 20, 2012

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will take water samples from at nearly 60 homes in the Carter Road/Meshoppen Creek Road area of Dimock, Pa. to further assess whether any residents are being exposed to hazardous substances.

This action is the result of data provided by residents, Cabot Oil and Gas and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Cabot Oil is drilling in the Marcellus Shale area. Methane has been found in the resident's water. This methane can be attributed to the Marcellus Shale but the EPA water sampling initiative is done as a public safety issue said an EPA spokesperson.

"EPA is working diligently to understand the situation in Dimock and address residents' concerns," EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said Jan. 19. "We believe that the information provided to us by the residents deserves further review, and conducting our own sampling will help us fill information gaps.

"Our actions will be based on the science and the law and we will work to help get a more complete picture of water quality for these homes in Dimock."

The sampling will begin soon and it is estimated to take at least three weeks to complete. Meanwhile EPA is delivering temporary water supplies to four homes where data reviewed by EPA indicates that residents' well water may pose a health concern.

The EPA has made it clear that "natural gas plays a key role in our nation's clean energy future and the Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that the development of this vital resource occurs safely and responsibly." Congress has directed the EPA to begin a national study on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.

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