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Rover Pipeline Spills Another 150,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid Into Ohio Wetlands

Drilling fluids spilled into Ohio wetlands during construction of the Rover Pipeline in April. Sierra Club

Energy Transfer Partners' troubled $4.2 billion Rover pipeline has spilled nearly 150,000 gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands near the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, Ohio—the same site where it released 2 million gallons in April.

The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, is currently under construction by the same Dallas-based company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.


Horizontal directional drilling work to lay the pipe beneath highways and rivers was temporarily halted in the wake of the major April spill, but work was allowed to resume in December. Energy Transfer Partners said it is continuing to follow a plan approved by the federal government and the state EPA, WOSU reported.

According to Kallanish Energy, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency inspected the horizontal directional drilling site on Jan. 10 and reported 146,000 gallons of drilling fluids "lost down the hole," referring to the pilot hole installation under the Tuscarawas River. Three attempts to seal the hole have failed, the state agency said. No inadvertent returns have been detected.

Energy Transfer Partners is currently flying drones around the site to monitor the situation.

The Ohio EPA said it "intends to closely monitor this situation if loss of returns continues" and pledged to work directly with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on "the next course of action."

In September, Energy Transfer Partners was fined $2.3 million for numerous water and air pollution violations across Ohio. Over the last two years, the Rover pipeline has racked up more "noncompliance incidents" than any other interstate gas pipeline.

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