Last updated: February 16. 2013 10:07PM - 520 Views

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DIMOCK TWP. -- The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a reported spike in methane levels inside a trailer in Dimock early Saturday morning and whether there is an association with nearby natural gas development.

DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said the department was contacted after a methane alarm sounded in the home occupied by William and Tamara Horn of Carter Road around midnight Friday into Saturday. She said one of the residents voluntarily went to a local hospital for evaluation. The trailer is owned by Ron and Jean Carter of Carter Road.

Methane levels in the home had dissipated by the time DEP investigators arrived Saturday afternoon, but the department has opened an investigation and will review samples collected by a private environmental testing company hired by the family and by Cabot Oil and Gas.

The home is in an area where DEP had previously determined Cabot had contaminated the aquifer with high levels of methane. The department later determined the company had met its obligations under a consent order and agreement and gave Cabot approval to stop bulk water deliveries to the area. Cabot was given approval to resume hydraulic fracturing in Dimock at the end of August.

Cabot spokesman George Stark said Tuesday the company has not yet resumed fracturing there.

Stark said Cabot took readings and found no detectable amounts of methane in the house or around the structure and no evidence of a hazardous situation. The company took water samples and is awaiting test results.

Connolly said DEP's investigation is "looking at all areas," including possible links to gas drilling and to the history of naturally occurring methane migration in the region.

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