Further Fallout from Rover’s Reckless operations: drinking water problems emerge in Canton

By Melanie Houston and Donald Wiggins

The fallout and indirect damage from the irresponsible operations of Rover Pipeline’s parent company continue to mount in Ohio. Just last week we learned from a citizen complaint to our office as well as a Canton Repository article that at least 100 households in the Canton area are experiencing problems with their drinking water.

Sandra Lutz stated, during an interview with the Canton Repository, that her drinking water has “tasted horrible, smells awful, and [has] been dark and discolored” for about a month. She said she’s had to purchase bottled water for drinking and to cook food.

The problem started when the Rover pipeline spilled millions of gallons of drilling slurry into wetlands in Stark County, among other locations. It turned out that the drilling mud was actually laced with diesel fuel additions making it an “industrial waste.”

In Ohio, we have laws that require plans for how to properly dispose of industrial waste. These plans have to be approved by the Ohio EPA. Unfortunately, Rover Pipeline, LLC decided not to follow these laws, and instead disposed of the diesel-fuel drilling mud into two quarries in Stark County. The first disposal was in the Oster Sand and Gravel Disposal Pit located near the City of Massillon’s public water system’s drinking water intake. The second disposal site was in the Beach City Quarry located near the City of Canton’s Sugarcreek drinking water wellfield.

After this unlawful dumping occurred, the City of Canton’s Water Department rightfully took the precautionary steps of reducing the amount of water they were going to pump from the Sugarcreek wellfield and began drawing more water from a different wellfield. Unfortunately this change in the system resulted in high levels of iron getting into the water and inconveniencing residents.

According to the City of Canton’s Press release, “the iron is not a health concern, although it can change the taste and odor of the water and cause staining.” While the iron is not a direct consequence of the Rover pipeline’s dumping, the problem clearly would not have occurred if it’s weren't for Rover’s irresponsible and illegal dumping. The city is currently working on different pumping combinations to minimize the undesirable consequences.

The bottom line: Ohioans are suffering and incurring economic hardships because of Rover Pipeline’s irresponsible actions and unwillingness to follow the rules and laws in our state. If you believe that Rover needs to be held responsible for their harms to Ohioans, please share this blog.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 4:45pm