Dimock water settlement leaves town divided

When the battle over a planned water pipeline to run between a pair of Susquehanna County, Pa., communities took an unexpected turn, no one was more surprised than Jean Carter and Julie Sautner.

The Dimock Township residents -- whose water wells were ruined by nearby natural gas drilling operations, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection -- hopped on a conference call Wednesday evening with DEP Secretary John Hanger. They were expecting to hear an update on the project before Hanger is likely relieved of his position by year's end.

What they heard instead was news of a settlement between the DEP and Cabot Oil & Gas, killing the $11.8 million project that would have provided water from Lake Montrose to 19 families in the Carter Road area of Dimock.

"We didn't know anything about it until we got on the call (Wednesday) night," Carter said. "We had no idea what was coming."

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