Residents Fed Up with Bad Water Flee Shale Drilling Areas

Residents Fed Up with Bad Water Flee Shale Drilling Areas by Susan Phillips, April 30, 2012, StateImpactPA
Sowatsky’s mother Kim McEvoy says once gas drilling began, her water turned gray and cloudy. Now, her well is running dry. Gas drilling has turned some quiet rural areas of Pennsylvania into growing industrial zones. Residents complain of increased truck traffic, bad air, and contaminated well water. Some of those residents have turned to activism. Others have filed lawsuits. But a growing number of Pennsylvania residents living near Marcellus Shale sites are also packing up their bags and moving. Boxes full of books are piling up in Kim McEvoy’s dining room in the house where she lives with her three-year-old daughter Skylar and her fiance, Peter Sowatsky. … Skylar Sowatsky is eager to show a visitor around the house. “This is my new toy, and I got this toy train in the toy aisle,” says Skylar. “I’m three old.” Along with the boxes, water jugs are also plentiful, and dominate the kitchen. Skylar explains the water jugs and the moving boxes this way: “Because we have black water.” … “It’s terrible,” says McEvoy. “It is what you focus on every day. When you wake up in the morning, where am I getting a shower. Oh I have to do laundry. Where we’re getting the water, how much water do you need. And that’s it. That’s all you worry about all the time — water, water, water. There’s no opening your tap, and you got water, to brush your teeth. That does not exist here.” … “So yeah, I have to leave because, it gets old really fast, hauling water,” says McEvoy. … Now, McEvoy is looking to sell her one-story, three-bedroom house, but it’s listed for less than what she owes on it. McEvoy’s realtor Steve Warrene doesn’t have much hope. “If it had public water today, I could probably sell it for $120,000,” said War¬rene. “Right now with no water, we got it listed at $87,900. It’s not gonna sell because other houses in the area without water are selling for between $15,000 and $30,000.”

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