Remember the little town of Dimock in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania? The place where, on January 1, 2009 residents lost their drinking water because of an explosion due to drilling? It's been 19 months and they still don't have their water - but they are getting closer. Today, he PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. an extension - they have 60 days to permanently fix the water supplies that were affected by the company’s natural gas drilling operations in Dimock.
According to DEP the directive is part of a modified consent order and agreement that requires Cabot to continue providing temporary water services until the permanent solution can be implemented. The additional 60-days comes as a result of homeowner dissatisfaction over Cabot's previous proposal to fix the water contamination issue.
Back in April , DEP and Cabot entered into a modification of the original consent order and agreement that was executed in November 2009. One of the provisions required whole-house water treatment systems to be installed in 14 homes as a permanent water supply resolution. But several residents didn't like the whole-house treatment systems.
Due to the resident reaction, Cabot requested an extension of the consent order and agreement time frame to install a permanent solution. DEP agreed to delay enforcement of that provision to allow for additional discussions with residents.
“This week’s modification to the consent order and agreement gives us more time to find a water supply solution that will address the needs and concerns of residents,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger. “Our goal is to find a permanent solution that will be agreeable to all parties.”
Also in April, DEP suspended its review of Cabot’s pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide until the company fulfilled its obligations to plug and repair the wells that caused the gas migration, which caused the water contamination. In accordance with that agreement, Cabot has plugged three gas wells and has made repairs to another well. As a result, DEP will resume reviewing Cabot applications only for permits to drill gas wells outside of the affected area in Dimock Township.
Read the original DEP press release here.