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Rover Pipeline Spills Contaminants in Ohio Stream
Notice of Violation #19 for Rover
Ohio EPA Requests Pause in Drilling, Review of Contingency Planning
Ohio EPA has cited Rover Pipeline, LLC for spilling contaminants into the Black Fork of the Mohican River, Ashland County. The Notice of Violation is Rover’s fifth since the company received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September to resume drilling construction at certain locations in Ohio. These latest violations are summarized in a letter Ohio EPA sent to Rover this week, requesting that the company pause horizontal drilling activities, review its contingency plan and ensure readiness to respond to future inadvertent returns.
For more than four months, Rover had been under federal orders prohibiting the company from continuing horizontal drilling at new Ohio locations due to numerous environmental violations. Among those was the release of more than two million gallons of industrial waste (drilling mud contaminated with diesel fuel) into a high-quality wetland in Tuscarawas County, subsequently dumping that same material into local quarries near sources for public drinking water, as well as other storm water and air pollution violations.
In this latest incident (resulting in Rover’s 19th notice of environmental violations in Ohio this year), the company’s construction activity caused 200 gallons of bentonite-based drilling fluid to be released into a tributary of the Mohican River near the Ashland-Richland County border. The unauthorized release of the drilling fluid, a pollutant, into waters of the state is a violation of ORC 6111. Rover reported the inadvertent release to Ohio EPA.
Currently, Rover also is in violation of Ohio EPA’s July 7 orders, which among several other directives, required the company to file for a construction storm water general permit. The company has refused to comply with the order or pay an appropriate civil penalty. The Agency has referred the case to the Ohio Attorney General.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.