A Day In The Life Of A Water Bank

May 13, 2014

Pastor Lee Dreyer, along with Janet McIntyre, haul boxes full of water jugs out to clients as part of the Water for Woodlands water bank at the White Oak Springs Presbyterian Church in Renfrew, Pa.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

For two years, a Presbyterian Church near hard-to-pronounce Connoquenessing Township, Pa., has been a bank — a water bank to be precise.

The church distributes water to 34 families whose wells went bad around the time hydraulic fracturing started in the region. The coincidence can’t be proven, but residents of the Woodlands, a poor rural community in the township, said they can tell by taste, smell, color and skin reaction that their water hasn’t been right.

The neighborhood received a lot of press back in 2011 and 2012. Documentaries were made. Reporters from around the world wrote stories. But as the years went on, the press faded.

It all started in early 2011, when people noticed their well water began tasting bad and smelling like “rotten eggs” and “burnt plastic,” residents said. The water turned a murky orange color and dark sediment floated in it.

Some people even got strange rashes. Others threw up. Animals stopped drinking the water. Eventually, many people in the community stopped, too.

Read more of this story at the website of our partner PublicSource.