Big Display of Small Town's Debate

By Matt Markham

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August 3, 2011 Updated Aug 3, 2011 at 6:24 PM EDT

Dimock, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Three years after the first claims of water contamination began to surface in Dimock, residents say their water still isn't clean.

This argument has gone on for three years now. That's how long neighbors on Carter Road in Dimock say they've been without clean drinking water, claiming drilling operations at Cabot Oil & Gas tainted their wells.

"There is still water problems contrary to what a lot of people are saying," said Craig Sautner. "All you got to do is take a look at the billboard."

The small town's big debate is now on display for drivers on Route 29 in South Montrose.

"We just want people to drive by this and say gosh, why don't they just fix these people's water?" said Victoria Switzer.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was going to build a fresh water pipeline from Montrose for affected families.

"That's the only way that I can turn my faucet on every day and be a normal person," Switzer said.

But the DEP backed out after Cabot made a $4.1 million settlement. Some families took a share of the settlement. Others did not.

"Our data has been shared with the Department of Environmental Protection and it shows that the water is clean," said George Stark, spokesman for Cabot. "It makes the EPA federal safe drinking water standards."

Cabot says the billboard is a lie.

"It would lead you to believe that the water there is not clean, which isn't the case," Stark said.

Neighbors who organized in opposition to the billboard and the initial water pipeline proposal say it's just a gimmick by the families suing the gas company.

"When you have a court proceeding pending, and you want to bolster it, this sort of stunt is what you do," said Bill Aileo of Dimock.

"My lease says they have to restore my well to original if not better condition they found it in," Sautner said. "They have not done that because they cant do it."

When asked if he would drink a glass of water from the Sautner's tap, Stark responded, "yes. I would drink a glass of it."

Cabot released water test results gathered by DEP for the Sautners and the Switzers home, both litigants suing Cabot for water contamination from stray gas migration.

Cabot says their water meets federal drinking water samples.

These families are still getting water delivered by the gas company to water buffalos on their property.

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