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West Virginia DEP Again Orders Rover Pipeline to Halt Work Due to Stormwater Violations

West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has ordered Rover Pipeline LLC to halt construction activities in the state due to violations of the pipeline’s water pollution control permit.

Based on inspections conducted Feb. 15-22, WVDEP cited Rover for more than a dozen violations stemming from improper erosion and sediment controls during construction of its Sherwood and CGT laterals in Doddridge, Tyler and Wetzel counties, West Virginia.

In an order dated March 5, WVDEP said Rover “failed to comply with the approved Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Several erosion control devices were not in place as detailed in the SWPPP. Perimeter controls were found to be removed prior to achieving stabilization throughout the inspected area.”

Another violation accused Rover of failing “to keep a clean and orderly project. Trash and construction debris, including discarded Best Management Practices that were prematurely removed, were noted in quantity on the site, some of which were partially buried.”

WVDEP ordered Rover to install the required sediment and erosion control devices and “immediately cease and desist any further land development activity” pending inspection verifying that the pipeline is in compliance with its permit. The agency also ordered Rover to submit “a proposed plan of corrective action” within 20 days of the order.

WVDEP spokesman Jake Glance told NGI Wednesday that order remains in effect, though the company “requested and was given clearance to complete one section of borehole that would have collapsed if they stopped work.”

Last summer, Rover received a cease and desist order from WVDEP for similar stormwater violations.

Asked about the March 5 order, Rover spokeswoman Alexis Daniel said, “We continue to work with the FERC and WVDEP to resolve any outstanding concerns in a manner that ensures the complete remediation of the areas to the satisfaction of all parties. To help ensure this, we have added additional resources and environmental crews.

“We do not anticipate it impacting our in service date.”

Rover penned a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission March 9 addressing a “Serious Violation issued by FERC for a restoration slip that occurred” along the CGT Lateral in Doddridge County.

“Although construction is almost complete, Rover has recently increased the number of environmental crews and resources on the Sherwood and CGT spread to address the areas impacted by the recent significant precipitation and freeze/thaw events that have significantly affected erosion control devices along the right-of-way, as well as to assist with the transition from winter construction to spring restoration,” Rover told the Commission.

WVDEP’s March 5 cease and desist order marks the latest setback for the 713-mile, 3.25 Bcf/d Rover project, which has repeatedly drawn scrutiny from state and federal regulators.

Last April, a roughly 2 million gallon horizontal directional drilling (HDD) fluids spill near the Tuscarawas River, cited by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), led FERC to suspend HDD activities on the project for months. FERC opened an investigation into the incident due to tests indicating the presence of diesel fuel in the drilling mud.

Almost a year later, FERC suspended work on the project’s second Tuscarawas River HDD for about two weeks due to environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, Ohio EPA has hounded the project in pursuit of millions of dollars in civil penalties over numerous alleged environmental violations.

Originally targeting a 4Q2017 in-service date, Rover is now scheduled to enter full service during the second quarter, with the remaining sections of the project expected to come online incrementally, management for backer Energy Transfer Partners LP has said.

Rover finished bringing its Phase 1 into service at the end of last year and currently offers roughly 2 Bcf/d of capacity running east-to-west across Ohio to interconnects with the Panhandle Eastern and ANR pipelines.

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