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Ohio EPA Reports New Rover Pipeline Spill To Federal Regulators

WMFD/Screenshot by WOSU

The $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline cutting diagonally across Ohio is drawing more concern from state regulators. Last week, the Ohio EPA told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it is “deeply concerned” about a new spill from the Rover Pipeline.

Nearly 150,000 gallons of drilling fluid was “lost down a hole” beneath the Tuscarawas River in southwestern Stark County. That’s the same site where more than 2 million gallons of the fluid – mixed with diesel – leaked last April and turned up in a wetland.

Horizontal drilling to lay the pipe beneath highways and rivers was suspended then but allowed to resume in December. The pipeline owner, Energy Transfer Partners, has said that it’s continuing to follow a plan approved by the feds and state EPA.

Amid spills from the Rover and Keystone pipelines, among others, FERC recently announced plans to review its pipeline policies for the first time since 1999.

The state has sued Rover for $2.3 million over the cleanup costs from the first spill, after the pipeline’s owners refused to pay state fines. There’s no indication if the fluid in the latest spill contained diesel.

The EPA's letter notes that the company is now flying drones to monitor surface leaks and has recovery equipment in place.

The pipeline is expected to pump 3.25 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields. That’s enough to supply more than 15 million households.