CARROLLTON — Rover Pipeline donated $30,000 to emergency services in local counties crossed by the 713-mile interstate natural gas pipeline system.

Emergency managers for Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas accepted the money during a brief ceremony recently.

Rover is giving $10,000 to emergency services in all counties along the pipeline system, including 18 in Ohio, for a total of $270,000, said Rover spokeswoman Alexis Daniel. The money can be used to buy equipment or train first responders.

Stark plans to use to the money to rehabilitate equipment and furnishings at the county Emergency Operations Center, which is at the Stark County Jail, said Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Warstler.

Carroll will use the money to buy furnishings and a Smart Board and Tuscarawas will use its $10,000 to purchase air monitors and a Smart Board for their respective operations centers.

Nearly completed

Texas-based Energy Transfer is building the $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline, which will carry 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Utica and Marcellus shales to markets in Canada and the United States.

The portion of Rover that crosses Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas consists of two 42-inch diameter pipelines.

Rover is more than 95 percent complete, and one of the two mainlines across Ohio, along with a lateral line in southeastern Ohio, will be operational by the end of the year, Daniel said. The full Rover system is scheduled to be in service by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

But the Ohio EPA has cited Rover Pipeline for repeated environmental violations with civil penalties in excess of $2.3 million, and earlier this month the Ohio Attorney General’s office sued the company in Stark County Common Pleas Court.

The biggest incident happened in April when 2 million gallons of diesel-tainted drilling slurry spilled in a Bethlehem Township wetland while pipeline workers bored under the Tuscarawas River.

On Wednesday, Betty Sutton, a Democratic candidate for governor, called on Gov. John Kasich to revoke a state environmental permit that Rover needs to complete construction and conduct a review of the project.

Ongoing relationship

Rover representatives said they have been in touch with emergency managers and fire departments in communities along the pipeline route, and will continue to do so.

Warstler said the county’s relationship with Rover’s emergency response staff was good and he expected that relationship to continue.

"I do believe pipelines are statistically one of the safest ways of transporting chemicals," Warstler said.

In 2017, 45 significant incidents involving onshore transmission pipelines have injured one person and cost $38 million in damages, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

PHMSA classifies as significant any event that kills, causes injuries requiring hospitalization or damages more than $50,000 in property, including the value of the natural gas released.

Since 1997, there have been 1,039 significant incidents involving onshore natural gas transmission pipelines have caused 48 deaths, 179 injuries, and $1.6 billion in property damage.

In October, a worker was killed and his coworker injured while doing maintenance at a metering station on a natural gas pipeline in Bethlehem Township.

The resulting gas leak required emergency services to evacuate surrounding homes, but didn’t result in a fire. TransCanada owns the pipeline.