FERC Stops Rover Drilling Near River After 200K Gal Mud Disappears

The Ohio EPA continues its yapping insistence that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) *permanently* shut down underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work being done by Rover Pipeline near the Tuscarawas River over concerns that nontoxic (totally safe) drilling mud keeps disappearing down the borehole. FERC listened, sort of. In an order dated yesterday, FERC told Rover to *temporarily* stop HDD work at Tuscarawas until Rover can outline a plan for moving forward that FERC has confidence will address concerns over the disappearing drilling mud. When mud used for drilling holes comes out on the surface any place other than the hole from which it went down, it’s called an “inadvertent return.” We call it a leak. However, if that same mud never comes back to the surface, as sometimes happens, it’s fine. Except when it’s a LOT of mud, as is the case in drilling near Tuscarawas where a cumulative 200,000 gallons of it have disappeared down hole, not (so far) coming back out. Sooner or later it seems likely that at least some of that mud will come back to the surface–somewhere. That’s the concern that no doubt prompted FERC to send Rover a letter yesterday telling them to (for now) stop HDD work at Tuscarawas…

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