Rover Pipeline Converts Some Horizontal Drilling to Trenches Instead

Phase I of the 711-mile Rover Pipeline project that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada is supposed to be completed by July 2017, while Phase II is supposed to be done by November 2017. Will Phase I be done by the end of this month? We sure wouldn’t want to take that bet, but we suppose there’s still a slim chance. While building the $3.7 billion pipeline project, Energy Transfer (or more correctly its contractors) hit some snags, including spilling 2 million gallons of non-toxic drilling mud near the Tuscarawas River (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) slapped a stop work order on any horizontal directional drilling (HDD, or underground drilling) projects for Rover not already underway. A tipster later claimed diesel fuel was being added to the drilling mud and after testing a sample from the spill near the Tuscarawas, the Ohio EPA claimed to have found diesel in the mud (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). That made FERC really upset and touched off a full investigation. Meanwhile, Rover hired a new firm to oversee HDD activity and pledged with a cross-your-heart-pinky-swear to FERC that those kinds of accidents would not happen again. FERC recently allowed Rover to restart some of the work halted, which has radicals at the Sierra Club fit to be tied. However, in the “you can start again” order, we noticed that Rover has changed some (much?) of the remaining HDD projects into digging trenches instead. Obviously you can’t dig a trench across the Tuscarawas River–or a highway–or other such structures. But you can dig a trench right up to the edge of those structures. It’s our observation that a change from HDD to trenching has allowed Rover to restart stopped work in a number of locations…

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