Dimock water contamination settlement reached

Sponsored by

• Residents to share $4.1 million, receive gas mitigation systems

HARRISBURG, PA, Dec. 16, 2010 -- Residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, who have had their drinking water supplies contaminated by natural gas will each receive a share of $4.1 million that Cabot Oil and Gas Co. will pay under a settlement negotiated by the Department of Environmental Protection and the company.

The settlement, which will enable the affected families to address their individual circumstances as they see fit, also binds Cabot to offer and pay to install whole-house gas mitigation devices in each of the 19 affected homes.

Cabot also will pay DEP $500,000 to offset the state's expense of investigating the stray gas migration cases that have plagued Dimock residents for nearly two years.

"The 19 families in Dimock who have been living under very difficult conditions for far too long will receive a financial settlement that will allow them to address their own circumstances in their own way," said DEP Secretary John Hanger, who explained that the amount paid to each family will equal two-times the value of their home, with a minimum payment of $50,000.

"In addition to the significant monetary component of this settlement, there is a requirement that Cabot continue to work with us to ensure that none of their wells allow gas to migrate," Hanger noted.

DEP began investigating reports of stray gas in Dimock water wells in January 2009. A consent order and agreement signed in November 2009 required Cabot to install whole-house treatment systems in 14 homes, but residents found that action to be unsatisfactory.

The agreement was modified in April 2010 and DEP ordered Cabot to cap three wells believed to be the source of the migrating gas. DEP also suspended its review of Cabot's pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide and prohibited the company from drilling any new wells in a nine-square-mile area around Dimock.

In September, DEP announced that Pennsylvania American Water Co. would construct a 5.5-mile water main from its Lake Montrose water treatment plant to supply the affected Dimock residents with a reliable source of quality drinking water. In November, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, or PENNVEST, approved an $11.8 million grant and loan package for the project, with the commonwealth intending to recover the cost of the project from Cabot.

Given the opposition to the planned water line and the uncertain future the project faces, Hanger said the department would abandon its pursuit of the project.

"Our primary goal at the department has always been to ensure that the wells Cabot drilled in Dimock were safe and that they were not contaminating local private water supplies," said Hanger. "We've made great progress in doing that. Since we initiated our enforcement actions, gas levels in a majority of the contaminated water wells have gone down significantly. This agreement lays the foundation for families to finally put an end to this ordeal."

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Australian sewage treatment plant to receive major upgrade under DBO contract

Unitywater has officially awarded a Design, Build, Operate, and Maintain contract to TRILITY, an Australian private water utility, for the rehabilitation of the Redcliffe Sewage Treatment Plant in Southeast Queensland.

Baxter & Woodman earns APWA Technical Innovation Award for pretreatment efforts

Several local branches of the American Public Works Association has honored Baxter & Woodman with the Technical Innovation Award for its installment of an advanced pretreatment system at an Illinois village.

MWRD installs new green roof at Racine Avenue Pumping Station

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago announced that it has officially completed the construction of a green roof at its Racine Avenue Pumping Station.

WaterStep meets full amount of $100K Living Water Fund for safe water

WaterStep recently announced that it has successfully met the full amount of the Living Water Fund, a $100,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor, by the end of 2014.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA