The Rover pipeline spilled an estimated 2 million gallons of drilling fluid pollutants into wetlands “adjacent to” the Tuscarawas River in Navarre, Ohio, last week, according to a notice of violation filed by the Ohio EPA. Another 50,000 gallons of fluid were spilled into wetlands closer to Columbus. The pipeline just began construction last month — thanks to a last-minute certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — and it’s been an extremely rocky road so far.
Read the full report below:
The Ohio EPA document confirms that pollutants, including bentonite, were released in two separate spill incidents. The fluids “impacted water quality,” though the extent of the health hazard is not clear. Rover Pipeline LLC was ordered to stop the spill immediately, establish “containment points,” remove the pollutants from the area’s surface water and just generally “follow procedures.”
That last part will apparently be tricky for the company, which has already demolished a house in Leesville that was being considered for the National Register of Historic Places and tripped over itself trying to cut down 3,000 trees in just a few weeks to meet a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services deadline.
Rover Pipeline LLC, which is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, acknowledged these most recent violations and referred to them as “inadvertent returns of horizontal directional drilling fluid.” It’s not yet clear how long the clean-up process will take. All costs will be borne by Rover, and the Ohio EPA has noted that these notices are not the final action in this process. More to come.