Pennsylvania is paying nearly $12 million for the construction of a water line to families in Susquehanna County whose drinking wells have been tainted by natural gas drilling.
However, the Department of Environmental Protection may take an energy company to court over the project’s cost.
Pennsylvania American Water Company will begin construction on a water supply system for eighteen families by year’s end. The 5 and a half mile water line is expected to be completed in 12-19 months.
The Dimock Township residents’ wells have been contaminated by methane allegedly caused by nearby natural gas drilling.
Cabot Oil and Gas had legally accepted responsibility for the pollution, but has since backed away from the admission.
DEP Secretary John Hanger says it’s time for a new solution, beyond providing temporary water supplies for the families.
"It’s unacceptable to wait any longer. We will initially pay for this through PennVest, which is established to provide water and sewer. And we will, of course, simultaneously seek full recovery from Cabot."
Cabot has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Dimock residents have filed a federal suit over their contaminated wells.
Hanger says he’s angry and frustrated about the situation, but he isn’t moving to revoke the company’s drilling permits. Cabot is barred from drilling new wells near Dimock until next year.