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Environment


Ohio continues to probe a spill at a Morgan Co. fracking site
ODNR says such leaks of "drilling mud" are rare
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Drillers use what they call "mud" to lubricate their bits as they bore into rock. An oil-based mud started leaking over the weekend at a site in Morgan County.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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In The Region:

An investigation into what triggered the spill of hundreds of barrels of an oily fluid at a southeast Ohio drilling site Sunday night continues. But the area has been declared safe. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the accident at one of hundreds of the fracking wells taking root in Ohio.

LISTEN: The drilling investigation

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The U.S. EPA says the driller, PDC, hit an unexpected pocket of gas, and the well-head failed under the pressure. That released more than 300 barrels of an oil-water mix called “drilling mud” that is used to lubricate drill bits as they work their way through rock.

Most of it was contained on the site. But Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mark Bruce says about 40 barrels escaped into a nearby creek.

“The company is still working to determine what in fact did happen and what can be done to fix it. They’ve kept us in the loop the entire way, and … we will ultimately have the final say as to whether this well can continue forward.”

It took crews nearly three days to contain the spill. Morgan County officials were notified, but Bruce acknowledges there was no warning on the ODNR web site.

"To my knowledge there’s no requirement that a situation like this be publicly posted or publicly notified or anything like that.”

Bruce says such spills are rare.

 

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