MarkWest cleaning up natural gas liquids spill

MarkWest Energy continues repairing and remediating the natural gas liquids spill that recently killed an unspecified number of fish in northern Wetzel County.

“We are beginning our repairs and remediation activities. Our efforts will include stabilization of the slip location, management of the landside materials and affected soils, and pipeline repair activities,” said Robert McHale, spokesman for MarkWest.

Denver-based MarkWest processes and transports dry methane natural gas, as well as liquids – such as propane, ethane, butane and pentanes – for producers such as Magnum Hunter Resources, Antero Resources, Gulfport Energy, Noble Energy and several others.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources District 1 Fishery Biologist Frank Jernejcic said minnows, smallmouth bass and other species of fish died in Rocky Run, a tributary of Fish Creek, as a result of the spill. Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kathy Cosco said her department cited MarkWest for “conditions not allowable in the waters of the state.” She also said it has been difficult for officials with her office to fully examine the Rocky Run area where the liquid was released, noting the area was filled with “vapors.”

“The company is working to repair the access road so that it can get equipment into the area to begin repairing the pipeline, cleaning up the slip and removing the mud and debris from the stream,” she said Monday.

McHale said the company has removed the spilled flammable liquid from the broken pipeline, purifying it with nitrogen. He also said MarkWest has installed erosion control devices to prevent any further slippage.

Cosco said she believed one of MarkWest’s workers reported the spill by calling the “spill line.” She said anyone needing to report a spill related to the natural gas industry in West Virginia should call 800-642-3074.