Has the Dust Settled on Carter Road?

By Matt Markham

May 14, 2012 Updated May 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM EDT

Dimock, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Years of claims over unsafe water are now challenged by test results. While residents in the Carter Road area of Dimock maintain that natural gas drilling tainted their wells, science is on the side of the gas company.

The completion of water tests by the highest environmental agency in the land does not mean the dust has settled on Carter Road.

"It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth," said Victoria Switzer, and that's not Dimock water."

The Environmental Protection Agency says it is safe to drink.

Cabot Oil & Gas, accused with a connection to contamination by neighbors, never admitted fault, and is pleased with the results.

"Not only do they have our hard data, but they have the data collected in the field showing them that there is no imminent threat," said George Stark, spokesman for Cabot Oil & Gas.

While these neighbors and the gas company may disagree on the EPA's conclusions, they hope the air in the community clears.

"We want to live here," Switzer said. "We know that the gas industry is here to stay. We want to find a way to reach out to our neighbors. We probably have more in common than we don't."

For the Carter Road residents who went through water deliveries, pipeline proposals, and three years of claims, "we're never going to stop asking them to do it safely," according to Switzer. "We're never going to stop saying there should be accountability for when mistakes are made. That's all we ask for from the gas industry."

Switzer and others question the EPA results with other testing they have done. "It doesn't explain the high levels of sodium, it doesn't explain some of the items that we're seeing, in fact, I have more questions now than I did before EPA came out here."

For Cabot, it believes one question is answered: "not only for this community but for the bigger region, does Marcellus Shale drilling unto itself cause a problem? I think what you're seeing is there's a determination and the understanding that it is not," Stark said.

Litigation among several neighbors against Cabot Oil and Gas continues.

Switzer hopes all sets of test results, from public and private surveyors, are introduced for a judge and jury to clear up.

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