Butler County residents protest after state tests of their wells absolve driller

Sue Morrow of Butler joins protesters gathered Thursday in downtown Butler to oppose Rex Energy Marcellus Shale drilling and demand that clean water be restored in their Connoquenessing Township community.

By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Janet McIntyre of The Woodlands, a rural community in southern Butler County, said her well water foams and turns purple when it comes out of her faucet.

“When I bathe in it, I get rashes, so I’m thinking I shouldn’t be drinking it, either,” she said Thursday afternoon at a rally and march by more than 75 people to the downtown Butler office of Rex Energy Inc. to protest the company’s decision to stop providing replacement water to the McIntyres and 10 other families in the Connoquenessing Township community, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The chanting and sign-waving demonstrators, who brought enough jugs of water for the Woodlands residents to fill a pickup truck to overflowing, blamed Rex Energy’s Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations near that community for contaminating the water wells.

The company has provided the families with 800-gallon plastic tanks, commonly called “water buffalos,” and filled them regularly for a year but drained and removed the last of them Thursday, citing a series of test results that fail to establish a link between the drilling and the water contamination.

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