TOWANDA - According to the Daily Review newspaper, a natural gas company has been banned from drilling in a 9-square-mile area of Susquehanna County for at least a year because methane from faulty gas wells still is escaping into residents' drinking water, the state Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday.
The environmental oversight agency issued the order against Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. because it said the Houston-based company failed to comply with an earlier order from DEP to stop the gas migration and fix the failed well casings by a March 31 deadline, the story said.
It is the most stringent action the department has taken against a Marcellus Shale driller, according to the Review.
Cabot paid the department a $240,000 fine on Thursday and will pay an additional $30,000 a month beginning in May until it fulfills the obligations outlined in the new order, the report said.
Cabot also must plug three wells believed to be causing methane to seep into drinking water in 14 homes in Dimock and Springville townships, and must install and pay for permanent water treatment systems in those homes within 30 days, according to the story.
If the gas migration persists after the three wells are plugged, the company may have to plug 10 more defective wells, according to the order, it was reported.
In addition to halting Cabot's drilling in the affected area, DEP will not issue any new permits for Cabot to drill in the area for at least a year, the Review said.