Concerns about Small Wastewater Spill on OH Roadway

There was a small spill of brine (Utica Shale wastewater) from a tanker truck in Trumbull County, Ohio last weekend. An estimated 100-150 gallons leaked from the back of the truck along a roadway for about 5 miles. The county engineer is concerned about it—the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says there’s nothing to worry about.

A spill of brine water from a truck has officials with the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office concerned.

It happened on Warner Road near an injection well site over the weekend. The rust-colored substance has evaporated, but a trail of it can still be seen on Warner Road and on State Route 305.

Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith said in a letter sent to Gov. John Kasich’s office on Tuesday that the trail started at a gated driveway entrance to an injection well on Warner Road and continued south on State Route 305 for approximately 5 miles.

There is dead grass in the area where the engineer’s office said the spill happened. Officials said their real concern is they don’t know what was in the substance that spilled on the road.

But, Mike Settles of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said they believe it was brine, which is a product of natural gas drilling and production. He also said the agency does not have any environmental concerns.

The EPA believes 100 to 150 gallons of brine spilled after a hauler exited the injection well area.

But, engineers are concerned about any damage the spill could cause to roads and the area, which is home to many different types of wildlife, including bald eagles.

“This is something that has come apparently outside of the county. It raises some major concerns for us as operations ramp up. Hopefully, we won’t be seeing very much of this,” said Don Barzak of the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office. “If you look just down the street 100 to 150 feet, you got a park, baseball diamonds where children play, as well as a conservation easement.”*

To put this into perspective—it’s not good when an accident like this happens, but fortunately it’s extremely rare. Any industrial process will have accidents. The proper response is to figure what happened, why it happened, and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

*Youngstown (OH) WKBN-27 (Jul 11, 2012) – Weekend Brine Water Spill Reported in Fowler