Rover Pipeline Causing Issues In Richland Co, Company Speaks

  • 4/21/2017 1:48:40 PM
  • Jay Jackman
  • Local News

RICHLAND CO., OH - The construction of the Rover Pipeline has made it's way to Richland County, but recently a spill caused issues for a local wetland. 

The new interstate natural gas project will transport 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of domestically-produced natural gas to markets in the Midwest, Northeast, East Coast, Gulf Coast and Canada, with direct deliveries to Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, and into the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada which has a broader network of distribution points back into the U.S., the Northeast and into the Canadian market.

The approximate $4.2 billion pipeline will gather gas from processing plants in West Virginia, Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania for delivery to the Midwest Hub near Defiance, Ohio, where roughly 68 percent of the gas will be delivered via interconnects with existing pipelines in Ohio and West Virginia for distribution to markets across the U.S.

Last week, the Rover Pipeline construction caused 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid to spill into a local wetland off of Pavonia East Rd. in Mifflin Township. 

This local spill was part of Rover's estimated 2 million gallons of drilling fluid pollutants into wetlands "adjacent to" the Tuscarawas River last week, according to a violation filed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Local resident, Kathy Wolfe, told WMFD that the spill occurred within her and her husband's 480-acre property which is located within Richland and Ashland counties. 

Wolfe mentioned that she was told by her Rover land agent, Mitch Phillis, that it was a frack-out spill and that it was 'no big deal, it's just mud'.  

WMFD reached out to Phillis and was declined a comment, however, was given contact information for Rover's media department. 

Alexis Daniel, PR & Communication Specialist for Energy Transfer, released a statement to WMFD that stated: 

"The Rover Pipeline project team would like to provide an update on the inadvertent release of “drilling mud” that occurred as part of our construction activities in Ohio.

The drilling mud, which is a non-toxic, naturally occurring material that is safe for the environment was being used to help facilitate horizontal directional drills in Ohio. Due to the subsurface conditions and other environmental conditions of the locations, the drilling mud was able to migrate through naturally occurring fractures in the soils and reach the surface. It is important to note this is a common and normal component of executing directional drilling operations, there will be no impact to the environment and the release of the drilling mud is being managed and mitigated in accordance with the previously approved and certificated Horizontal Directional Drilling Contingency Plan on file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA)." 

Drilling mud is made up of water and naturally occurring bentonite. Bentonite is a type of clay that is non-toxic and not harmful in any way to the environment. Furthermore, it is commonly used in a variety of household products that we use every day such as beer and wine, sugar, honey, creams and lotions, baby powders, laundry detergents and hand soaps.

"Rover has implemented its Contingency Plan to properly dispose of the mud and is working closely with the Ohio EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in accordance with its permits, certificates and prior approvals." according to Daniels. 

The Ohio EPA said that no drinking water from private wells or public water systems has been impacted in Richland County from this spill. 

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