Crews installing the Rover pipeline dumped an estimated 2 million gallons of drilling mud into two Ohio wetlands, according to a notice of violations filed with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Once constructed, the $4.2 billion underground pipeline will run from Washington County in southeast Ohio northwest to Defiance and connect with pipelines to send Ohio natural gas to markets nationwide.
The larger spill coated 500,000 square feet of a wetland adjacent to the Tuscarawas River in northeast Ohio with as much as 2 million gallons of bentonite mud, which is used as a drilling lubricant.
The drilling fluid is a natural clay mud and does not contain added chemicals said Ohio EPA spokesman James Lee. Both spills have been contained and did not impact adjacent waterways, private wells or public water systems, he said.
“Discharges of bentonite mud and other material into waters of the state, including wetlands, can affect water chemistry and potentially suffocate wildlife, fish and microinvertebrates,” Lee said. “Any affected public water system would need to apply extensive and costly treatment in order to remove the material from the source water.”
Rover Pipeline has ceased operations at its Navarre-area site and constructed barriers to keep the mud from reaching the river while vacuum trucks and pumping systems continue cleanup efforts.
“(We) anticipate returning to construction shortly,” Alexis Daniel, a spokeswoman for the Rover Pipeline, said in an email statement.
An additional 50,000 gallons of bentonite spilled into a wetland in…
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