2 Million Gallon Drilling Fluid Spill in Ohio Wetlands

By Johana Langova on April 20, 2017

The Rover Pipeline LLC, owned by Energy Transfer Partners has recently had a 2 million gallon spillage of drilling fluid pollutants into the wetlands adjoining the Tuscarawas River in Navarre, Ohio in The Rover pipeline. They had just started construction on the pipeline a month ago, and a week ago Rover spilled not only the 2 million gallons of drilling fluids into the wetlands by the Tuscarawas River, but have also spilled another 50,000 gallons of the fluid into wetlands near Columbus, the capital city of Ohio.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

The fluids have released bentonite into the ground. Bentonite is used as a sort of lubrication for the cutting tools as it absorbs a lot of water and expands by a lot from it’s original size. Normal clay has an inner surface of 2 m² per gram, while bentonite has one of 400-600 m².

When bentonite is mixed with other chemicals used by drilling companies in the process, water and other particles found in the drilling site, it becomes a dangerous sort of chemical mud. To ensure that this hazardous waste doesn’t get out and impact the environment negatively (by interfering with the hydrology of wetlands and surrounding land and thus reducing quality of life for animals and humans who need safe water to drink), there are many procedures put into place. However, with spills these procedures cannot be done and thus the environment suffers.

Now, according to a document from the Ohio EPA, these two spills have impacted the water quality, though the extent of this isn’t too clear. The Ohio EPA ordered the Rover Pipeline LLC to stop the spill immediately and to remove the pollutants as well as to follow procedures. It is unclear how long the clean up will take, and all costs will be taken care of by Rover. However, the severity of the implications of these spills are not yet known.

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