A truck hauling brine waste resulting from the hydraulic fracturing process tipped over Sunday morning on U.S. Rt. 50/Ohio Rt. 7 between Coolville and Belpre, spilling roughly 1,200-1,500 gallons of brine, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency confirmed on Tuesday.
According to Ohio EPA spokesperson Dina Pierce, the Ohio EPA and Department of Natural Resources were continuing to conduct clean-up of the spill as of Tuesday morning, which occurred in Little Hocking, Washington County, a mile or two east of the K&H fracking-waste injection well located in Torch.
The driver suffered minor injuries, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol report, after the truck (in the westbound lane, heading toward K&H) drove off the right side of the roadway, struck an embankment and a tree, and overturned onto its side. Alcohol is not suspected in the crash
“Ohio EPA responded to the scene Sunday afternoon where a tanker hauling oilfield brine had rolled over on State Route 7 (also U.S. 50) at Collins Road,” Pierce explained. “Brine leaked from a top hatch into a roadside culvert. The Little Hocking fire department had plugged the culvert and installed a temporary dam in the ditch to limit migration of the brine.”
Pierce said that the Ohio EPA inspected the discharge from the truck that flowed into the culvert and ditch, and also checked the nearest waterway that that culvert empties into, a creek that Pierce identified as White’s Run Creek. Pierce said that the company took samples of the brine from the crash site, and sent it to a “independent” lab to analyze the materials within the brine.
“Ohio EPA inspected the discharge to the culvert, ditch, and also checked White’s Run Creek,” Pierce said. “No odors, sheen or wildlife impacts were observed. The trucking company, Contractor Transport, hired a contractor to vacuum the liquid from the culvert and ditch. The next steps are removing soil impacted by the spill.”
It’s not immediately clear from the crash report where the truck was coming from or where it was headed to. The truck is owned by Vacuum Truck Rentals Inc, a Mississippi-based company, and the carrier company’s name is Contractor Transport LLC, based out of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, according to the crash report.
Brine in this context is a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, and may contain a cocktail of hazardous and toxic substances.
Loraine McCosker, an Athens-based environmental activist, was present on the scene Sunday, which she said is about a mile away from the K&H well. She said she and others took a water sample from the creek nearby, and will be conducting their own testing. She said that dozens of trucks carrying brine traverse that roadway each day, many of them heading toward the K&H waste-injection well.