Ohio EPA cites Rover Pipeline for two drilling fluid spills

The under-construction Rover Pipeline has encountered new problems in Ohio, Kallanish Energy reports.

Rover Pipeline, the company behind the $4.2 billion natural gas line across northern Ohio, has been cited by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for two spills of drilling fluids. The company said the spills were the result of “inadvertent releases.”

The spills were reported on April 13 near Navarre in Stark County and on April 14 near Mansfield in Richland County.

Work on the natural gas pipeline has been halted until cleanup of the spills has been completed, the EPA said. Its investigation is continuing.

The company faces fines of up to $10,000 per day for each violation.

The Stark County spill was estimated at 1.5 million to 2 million gallons and covered about 500,000 square feet of wetlands with a layer of mud that affected water quality. The Richland County spill was estimated at 50,000 gallons and covered roughly 30,000 square feet.

Both spills involved a mud containing bentonite from horizontal directional drilling for the pipeline, plus dirt and rock cuttings. The mud is used to lubricate and cool drilling tools.

The Stark spill occurred near where the company was drilling under the Tuscarawas River

The company notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the spills in an April 18 letter.

Rover Pipeline, an affiliate of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, is developing the 713-mile pipeline, Phase 1 is likely to be completed by July and Phase 2 by November.

It’s designed to carry natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus Shale plays to the Midwest, Ontario and the Gulf of Mexico. It includes two, 42-inch lines that would move up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day.

It would run from western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia across Ohio to Michigan where it would connect to existing pipelines.

The company has come under fire for its tree-clearing methods that angered about 250 landowners, while others were troubled by the demolition of a historic house in Carroll County in mid-2016.