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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio investigating spill of pipeline lubricant in Harrison County

By Bob Downing Published: October 4, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Environmental regulators worked Thursday to determine the cause of a significant spill of a clay lubricant during construction of an underground pipeline in eastern Ohio.

Southeast Directional Drilling Co. reported Tuesday it had released an unknown quantity containing the lubricant, bentonite, in Harrison County, northeast of the village Cadiz. The spill occurred during construction of the ATEX pipeline, which will carry liquid petroleum products from Pennsylvania to Texas.

The clay substance, which can be used to lubricate cutting tools in drilling operations, ran into nearby Conotton Creek and onto the properties of two homeowners, affecting their private drinking water, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said Thursday. The cleanup was nearly complete, and the company was providing clean drinking water to the families, he said.

“No violations have been issued yet, but they did impact a waterway,” he said. “The agency is investigating all enforcement actions available at this time.”

A message seeking comment from the company was not immediately returned Thursday.

Abbruzzese said bentonite is generally non-threatening to the public, but in large quantities it has the potential to choke out plant life, kill fish and other life in streams and marshes. He said “out of an abundance of caution” the state also was testing the released material to assure it contained no toxins.

“For the homeowners, it’s a nuisance. They didn’t ask for this stuff to be spread on their property or get into their drinking water,” he said. “The bottom line is the state doesn’t want this stuff going where it shouldn’t be going.”

Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners’ ATEX pipeline will extend across 265 miles in Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana, connecting to existing lines.

Construction began this spring. Of 4,000 construction jobs involved, an estimated 1,500 were to be in Ohio.

The spill wasn’t connected to natural gas drilling, called fracking, also occurring in eastern Ohio, Abbruzzese said. The company planned to address the homeowners’ drinking water issues, including possibly drilling them new wells, he said.

Counties where the pipeline will travel include Butler, Warren, Greene, Clinton and Fayette in southwest Ohio; Pickaway, Fairfield and Licking in central Ohio; and Muskingum, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Harrison and Jefferson in eastern Ohio.



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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.