Quantcast

Ohio Fracking Fire Likely Cause of Large Fish Kill

Energy

Ohio Department of Natural Resources and state Environmental Protection Agency officials have launched an investigation to find out what killed a large, but unspecified, amount of fish in a creek that feeds into the Ohio River.

While Ohio officials are willing to concede that a fire at a nearby shale gas fracking site "likely" contaminated Monroe County's Opossum Creek, according to the Columbus Dispatch, one environmental group appears more certain that those dots have a connection. An ODNR official confirmed the fish kill Sunday—just a day after the fire temporarily displaced about 25 area families.

Ohio officials initially said they did not know if a nearby fracking fire caused a fish kill, but that soon changed. Photo credit: Nathan Johnson / Ohio Environmental Council

“The fracking fire appears to have left a miles-long trail of death and destruction in its wake with thousands of dead fish and wildlife floating belly up in this once pristine stream,” Nathan Johnson, staff attorney for the Ohio Environmental Council. “This may be unprecedented, perhaps the biggest Ohio fish kill in memory related to the oil and gas industry."

The fire occurred on the Eisenbarth well pad, near the West Virginia border, after fracking fluid tubes malfunctioned. The fire spread from the tubes to about 20 trucks that were lined on the pad. It could have killed the crayfish, minnows and smallmouth bass that died as far as 5 miles away from the site.

Fish were reportedly killed up to five miles away from the fracking site. Photo credit: Nathan Johnson/Ohio Environmental Council

ODNR spokeswoman Bethany McCorkle told the paper she did not know whether the fracking contaminants had reached the Ohio River, and  the EPA said it doesn’t know yet if drinking water in the area has been impacted. Additionally, John Shreve, Monroe County environmental health director, said the contaminants that killed the fish might not be enough to contaminate groundwater.

Shreve said his department is monitoring water quality, administering requested well testing, though no well owners have asked for testing yet.

However, Ohio Environmental Council representatives say the incident is particularly troubling since the creek was once proclaimed by the EPA as one of the state's cleanest waterways.

Monroe County, Ohio's Opossum Creek was once deemed one of the cleanest waterways in the state. Photo credit: Nathan Johnson/Ohio Environmental Council

“Who is to say that more fracking-related environmental tragedies like the one we appear to be seeing in Opossum Creek won’t occur in the future,” Johnson asked. “We just saw a major well blow-out in Morgan County this past May that threatened a nearby creek.”  

“The Ohio legislature needs to step up and overhaul Ohio's pitifully toothless existing law to mandate a much larger separation buffer between oil and gas well sites and nearby streams. Extending the legal stream buffer is an urgent no-brainer for Ohio’s environment.”

No injuries were reported in the fire.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Luis Alfonso de Alba Gongora, the UN secretary-general's special envoy for the climate summit speaks at The World Economic Forum holds the Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2018 in New York on Sept. 24, 2018. Ben Hider / World Economic Forum

By Howard LaFranchi

When United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decided to hold a high-level climate summit in conjunction with this year's General Assembly kicking off next week, he was well aware of the paradox of his initiative.

Read More Show Less
Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan meets with Guatemalan farmers on May 29 in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. John Moore / Getty Images

The Trump administration ignored its own evidence on how climate change is impacting migration and food security when setting new policies for cutting aid to Central America, NBC reports.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mike Pence brought the first motorcade to Mackinac Island on Saturday. Cars have been banned on the island since 1898. 13 ON YOUR SIDE / YouTube screenshot

Vice President Mike Pence sparked outrage on social media Saturday when he traveled in the first-ever motorcade to drive down the streets of Michigan's car-free Mackinac Island, HuffPost reported.

Read More Show Less
Inhaling from an electronic cigarette. 6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Shawn Radcliffe

  • As illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise, health officials urge people to stop using e-cigarettes.
  • Officials report 8 deaths have been linked to lung illnesses related to vaping.
  • Vitamin E acetate is one compound officials are investigating as a potential cause for the outbreak.
The number of vaping-related illnesses has grown to 530 cases in 38 states and 1 U.S. territory, federal health officials reported.
Read More Show Less
Activist Greta Thunberg leads the Youth Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in New York City. Roy Rochlin / WireImage / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

As organizers behind Friday's Global Climate Strike reported that four million children and adults attended marches and rallies all over the world — making it the biggest climate protest ever — they assured leaders who have been reticent to take bold climate action that the campaigners' work is far from over.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Summer has officially come to an end. Luckily, EcoWatch is here to keep its memory alive by sharing the winners of our "Best of Summer" photo contest.

Read More Show Less
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a news conference at UN headquarters on Sept. 18. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Today is the United Nations Climate Action Summit, a gathering called by UN Secretary General António Guterres to encourage climate action ahead of 2020, the year when countries are due to up their pledges under the Paris agreement.

Read More Show Less
A vegan diet can improve your health, but experts say it's important to keep track of nutrients and protein. Getty Images

By Dan Gray

  • Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
  • A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
  • It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.

New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.

Read More Show Less