Rover Drilling Contractor that Spilled Kept ‘Incomplete Records’

Rover is Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. 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 (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The leak did not spill into the Tuscarawas River (thankfully), but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigated the spill (following a tip) and claimed to find the presence of diesel fuel in the spilled mud (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). OEPA reported their findings to FERC and FERC launched an investigation into the Tuscarawas spill. FERC hired engineering firm J.D. Hair & Associates to review what went wrong. The Hair report is in. The reviewers can’t say with any confidence whether or not Rover (Energy Transfer) and the contractor doing the underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) at Tuscarawas, Pretec Directional Drilling, followed project requirements. Why? Because of “very limited” documentation. That is, poor record-keeping. The 425-page report (full copy below) does offer some theories as to why Pretec’s HDD drilling leaked: Pretec encountered “sticky clay” while drilling, so they doubled the amount of drilling mud to clean the cutter. The extra pressure forced the mud out of cracks in the ground–and resulted in a 2 million gallon spill…

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