PA Pipeline Shut after Spill

Monday, August 8, 2011 @ 03:08 PM gHale

Work on a natural gas pipeline project remains on hold after drilling mud twice spilled into a northeastern Pennsylvania stream.

Even though the pipeline testing leaked twice, the state Department of Environmental Protection did detect any impacts on aquatic life from the spill into Laurel Lake Creek in Susquehanna County.

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On two occasions, a total 1,400 gallons of drilling fluid released, said DEP spokesman Daniel Spadoni. Once on Friday and on Tuesday; they recovered all but 35 gallons. Amateur video posted online showed a thick, chocolate-colored substance.

Laser Northeast Gathering Co. LLC said the drilling fluid contained 95 percent water and 5 percent bentonite, a non-toxic clay.

The company is laying a 33-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from northern Susquehanna County to the Millennium interstate pipeline.

Crews were tunneling underneath Laurel Lake Creek when what the industry calls an “inadvertent return” of drilling mud occurred.

The mud came to the surface through existing fissures in the rock, said Kevin R. Marion, Laser’s director of pipeline engineering services. The company is considering a soy-based additive that is “supposed to help in this type of situation to plug fissures.”

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