© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Rover Pipeline Penalty Could Increase After Diesel Fuel Found In Leaks

Ohio EPA
The Ohio EPA wants to fine Energy Transfer Partners $917,000, more than double the penalty it originally proposed, following the discover of diesel fuel.

Builders of the Rover pipeline are going to have to do more testing and may have to pay a bigger penalty linked to the leaking of millions of gallons of drilling mud into a Stark County wetland in April.

This week, the Ohio EPA said lab work found small amounts of diesel fuel in the lubricating mud that leaked into the wetland, and in mud being disposed of in a quarry south of Massillon.

Ohio EPA spokesman James Lee says that raised concerns about drinking water wells.

“Ohio EPA and Rover are doing additional testing of that quarry that is within close proximity to those source water wells for the city and neighboring communities.” The well serves about 40,000 customers of Aqua Ohio.

Lee says the agency is also raising the amount of a fine it is proposing for the mud spill to nearly a million dollars.

In an emailed response, Rover owner Energy Transfer Partners' spokeswoman Alexis Daniel says, “We are fully cooperating with both the FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and the Ohio EPA on this important issue. At this time, however, there is no evidence that the source of the hydrocarbons is related to our drilling activity.”

A letter from FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Colette Honorable this week says they're "troubled" by the Tuscarawas River spill and indications of diesel in the mix. The letter says the company had pledged its drilling mix would contain only nontoxic/non-hazardous bentonite clay and water.