McCONNELSVILLE, Ohio - State and federal teams are still cleaning up after a shale well being drilled for fracking in Morgan County leaked, spilling oily fluid into a nearby stream.
The leak from the well on Center Bend Road near Beverly was discovered Sunday when the lubrication fluid, commonly called mud, began spilling over from the drill site. Heather Lauer, spokeswoman for Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the spill was contained completely, and the Ohio EPA did not order any evacuations. About 140 barrels of drilling mud landed on the well pad, while 40 barrels made it into the water. The stream was a tributary to a nearby creek, but Lauer said the spilled mud was completely contained before it reached the creek.
The ‚Äúdrilling mud‚ÄĚ substance is used in drilling boreholes and acts as a lubricant. The composition is mostly clay, lubricants and trace amounts of oil. No hydraulic fracturing fluid leaked because the incident happened during the drilling, not the fracking, phase.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is handling the investigation and will be responsible for determining whether the company responsible for the well, PDC Energy, needs to plug the well or will be allowed to continue drilling. PDC Energy operates three fracking wells in Morgan County, all in Center Township, including the one where the incident happened.
The ODNR says such incidents are rare.