Since no one trusts anyone in the Dimock case, just about everyone wants to do their own testing of well water, and some families are just saying no to water testing, according to Laura Legere of the Scranton Times. See http://independentweekender.com/index.php/2012/01/25/5979/.
The EPA, DEP, Cabot Oil and Gas all seem to be taking samples and doing there own testing. It is a water testing triple header.
Perhaps this is a good thing in these polarized times. Possibly the industry will believe the Cabot results, and the anti-drilling groups will believe the EPA results. Others may believe the DEP results. That may add up to everyone accepting the test results.
Of course, if not already a three ring circus, this multiple testing at the same time will be a circus, if the results differ.
Not surprisingly to me, Legere reports that a "significant" number of the 61 families that EPA had identified for further testing are refusing the offer. The community in Dimock area is divided, with bitter opponents of drilling and many families supportive of gas drilling, though those families do not get much media coverage.
Of course a huge amount of water testing and action is water under the bridge in the Dimock case. Here is a brief recap.
DEP has done an extensive investigation that included significant gas testing. DEP found that at 18 water wells had been impacted by gas migrating as a result of poor gas drilling. DEP also found that there was no contamination of the aquifer or water wells by hydraulic fracturing. A subsequent Duke University study confirmed this point.
Based on its findings, DEP issued Cabot cumulative fines in excess of $1.3 million. DEP required the plugging of several gas wells and the repair of other gas wells to remove gas from water wells. The plugging and repair of gas wells cost Cabot tens of millions of dollars of direct expense and lost revenues.
DEP required Cabot to establish individual escrow accounts totaling $4.1 million and that averaged more than $200,000 each for the 18 families where DEP found gas migration had polluted their water wells. Seven of the 18 families reportedly took the escrow account payments, while 11 have not.
By December 2010, gas had been reduced to safe levels in as many as 14 of the water wells. But more testing was needed to confirm the improvement in those wells.
We are certainly going to get more testing.