The PA Infrastructure Investment Authority will vote on November 9 on whether to fund a $11.7 million drinking water project to replace water supplies affected by Marcellus Shale drilling in Dimock, Susquehanna County.
The proposed financing package would give an $11.5 million grant and a $172,000 loan to Pennsylvania American Water to install 5.4 miles of transmission line and 7 miles of distribution line to provide the option of public water to 18 homes with wells affected by drilling. The grant would be one of the largest ever given by PennVEST for a single project.
In an open letter to residents of Dimock in October, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said, "No one in Dimock or Susquehanna County will pay for it and local taxes will not be increased as the result of it. Residents along Route 29 will have the option to tap into the line if they so choose. No one will be forced to hook up to the new public water supply."
Secretary Hanger also said in a letter to Senators Mary Jo White (R-Venango) and Don White (R-Indiana), "All homeowners who choose to accept the public water system will receive the same monthly water bill as other Pennsylvania American Water Company customers." PennVEST estimates the average annual water bill on the system to be $724.
In that same letter, Secretary Hanger said the Commonwealth will "take all actions necessary and appropriate" seek to recover the cost of the project from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation which DEP holds responsible for drinking water well contamination in the area.
Residents in Dimock this week protested the construction of the water line in a meeting with Secretary Hanger saying other less expensive options like drilling new wells, well reconstruction or adding filtration systems would solve the problem.
Opponents of the proposed water line are bombarding legislators and members of the Board of PennVEST with emails and petitions asking that funding not be approved. Senators Ray Musto (D-Luzerne), Don White (R-Indiana) and Reps. Bud George (D-Clearfield) and Dick Hess (R-Blair) serve on the Board.
The PennVEST Board meeting will be held in Room 60 East Wing of the Capitol Building starting at 10:30. It had been scheduled for its usual location at the Governor's Residence.
DEP Secretary Meets With Affected Families In Dimock
DEP Chief Confronted, Bombarded With Questions In Dimock
Link: DEP: Dimock Residents Will Be Provided Permanent Replacement Water Supply