Less Water and More Questions for the Woodlands
The latest from September Sidney-winner Erich Schwartzel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the worsening plight of the Woodlands, a small Pennsylvania community forced to live without running water after its wells were mysteriously befouled:
CONNOQUENESSING TOWNSHIP – With each passing week, more and more residents in the Woodlands start to live in a waterless world.
The backwoods neighborhood of 200 homes and trailers about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh has exhausted nearly every option for official help since private well water began running orange or drying up altogether in early 2011.
In just the past four months, the number of homes collecting gallon jugs of donated fresh water has more than doubled to 25. The community set up a water bank at a local church to accommodate the growing demand – the latest step in a two-year saga that started when neighbors called each other with the same complaint: The well water was getting very bad, very fast.
Many suspect that nearby fracking operations have tainted the well water, but so far, government tests have found little difference between pre- and post-fracking levels of contaminants. However, a professor from Duquesne University professor is digging deeper and he says his unpublished results show a host of anomalies in the Woodlands’ tap water:
“We’re finding a multitude of problems, but the common theme is essentially the water table for the community has changed,” [Prof. John Stolz] said.
“Something is pushing the water around.”
Each week, more residents report that their tap water has become undrinkable, and in some cases even irritating to the touch.