A tiny Pennsylvania town is finally receiving relief after 14 years without clean water.
Pennsylvania American Water, the public utility trusted with the project, has released plans to install two wells and a water treatment plant to serve the roughly 20 homes in Dimock, Penn.
This project is the result of efforts by the state attorney general’s office to resolve the situation. Spokesperson Jacklin Rhoads says the office has been “laser focused” on getting the residents clean water since getting involved in 2020. The state is also pursuing charges against Coterra Energy Inc., the gas company accused of polluting the town’s aquifer.
Coterra Energy claims the methane in the drinking water occurred naturally and is not the result of their activities. Despite this claim, the company — then known as Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. — has previously spent $4.1 million to try to make up for the damage.
Residents famously demonstrated in the documentary “Gasland” that they could light their ordinary tap water on fire due to the extremely high level of gas present. They rejected an offer last year for new filtration systems, pushing for a new source of clean water instead.
It is unclear whether Coterra Energy will be required to pay for the new treatment plant and water pipeline if the company loses its legal case. It faces 15 criminal counts, including violating the state’s Clean Streams Law and illegal discharge of industrial wastes.
These charges come as a result of a grand jury investigation, which found the company was actually responsible for the methane pollution it blamed on natural causes. Coterra Energy’s leaking wells have affected not only Dimock, but several surrounding communities.
While the legal battle is ongoing, Dimock residents will at least have access to clean water within a few years.
“Pennsylvania American Water is pleased it had the opportunity to partner with the Attorney General’s office to develop a safe drinking water solution for the residents of Dimock, who like all of us, deserve access to clean, safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water,” says Engineering Manager Dan Rickard.