A semi-truck hauling oil and natural gas wastewater through Southeast Ohio left the road and crashed into a field, spilling 5,000 gallons of the fluid into a stream that empties into a drinking water reservoir, state regulators said Thursday.
The incident occurred early Wednesday in Belmont County in the village of Barnesville. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) spokesman James Lee said the village's water system was not taking in water at the time of the accident, adding that "there has been no impact to the community water supply." The truck was operated by locally-based ECM Energy Services Inc., which specializes in trucking and logistics for the onshore energy industry.
The driver, Hiley Wogan of Ohio, was reportedly flown by helicopter to a hospital in Columbus with non life-threatening injuries. ECM was hauling the load of brine water for Gulfport Energy Corp. The truck was transporting fluid from the company's Routh 3C well in Monroe County, OH, said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) spokesman Eric Heis.
The Routh well, Lee said, is a conventional well. Gulfport, which has a field office about 20 miles to the north of Barnesville in St. Clairsville, has not commented about the incident. The company has 237,000 acres in the state, where its operations are primarily focused on the Utica Shale in Monroe, Belmont and Jefferson counties.
As the lead agency, the OEPA has tested the water to see when Barnesville can resume using the reservoir. Lee added that the agency is also trying to determine what exactly was in the brine water that spilled.
"I think it's going to be determined, in part, by what comes back from the testing in terms of remediation," he said. "Obviously, the responsible party is in charge of hiring contractors to deal with any remediation efforts and reporting back to the OEPA."
Lee wasn't entirely sure, but he identified Gulfport as the responsible party in this instance. Heis said ODNR's wildlife department cleared the scene shortly after the crash and reported that there was no impact to wildlife in the area. He said ODNR has been working with the hauling company during the investigation.
"I cannot discuss potential penalties as it is still under investigation," Heis said, when asked if either the trucking company or Gulfport could face fines for the incident.