Ohio EPA slaps Rover with fine, again, for spilling contaminants in creek

CARROLL COUNTY – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited Rover Pipeline last week for spilling contaminants in a creek in the southeastern part of the county.

The spill occurred Sept. 20 while a Rover subcontractor was boring under Branch Rd. in Loudon Twp., to install a 36-inch supply line, according to Tammy Dowdell with the Carroll County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

The fine came just three days after Rover received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to resume drilling at certain locations in Ohio.

“Although Rover’s arrogance and blatant disregard for Ohio’s environmental laws is no longer surprising, we remain vigilant in holding the company accountable,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.

For more than four months, Rover had been under federal orders prohibiting the company from continuing horizontal drilling at new Ohio locations due to numerous environmental violations. Among those was the release of more than two million gallons of industrial waste (drilling mud contaminated with diesel fuel) into a high-quality wetland in Tuscarawas County, subsequently dumping that same material into local quarries near sources for public drinking water, as well as other storm water and air pollution violations.

In this latest incident (resulting in Rover’s 13th notice of environmental violations in Ohio this year) the company’s construction activity caused soap wastewater used in boring operations and soil/sediment to discharge into the creek water, which is a violation of the Ohio Revised Code. Approximately 500 feet of waterway was impacted by the spill requiring 6,000 gallons of water to be recovered by vacuum truck. Impacted silt/sedimentation was removed. The release also violated a rule by the release/deposit of soap wastewater and silt/sediment, adversely affecting aquatic life and discoloration of the water — an illegal discharge without a permit.

Dowdell said the spill was cleaned up within a couple hours. She said Rover and two subcontractors, Pumpco and U.S. Crossings, both of Texas, were working at the site.

An Ohio EPA official said Rover is also is in violation of Ohio EPA’s July 7 orders, which among several other directives, required the company to file for a construction storm water general permit. The company has refused to comply with the order or pay an appropriate civil penalty. The agency has referred the case to the Ohio Attorney General for further action.

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