Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp

We suppose it was bound to happen, but fervently wish it hadn’t. In the process of drilling underneath the Tuscarawas River (in Stark County) one week ago, on April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid.” That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid. Not, thank God, into the Tuscarawas River, but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter. We’ve covered other such nontoxic spills in the past (see our bentonite stories here). The biggest threat to aquatic life in the river is if large quantities of bentonite get into the river and smother the little fishies and salamanders–from lack of oxygen. A second spill happened while drilling horizontally under another swamp the very next day–in Richland County. Rover workers spilled 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid there. Both spills were immediately reported to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which is on the job, monitoring cleanup efforts. A whopping fine is sure to follow…

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