A Morgan County shale well being drilled in preparation for fracking began leaking on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of nearby residents.

State and federal environmental emergency-response teams and the drilling company finally contained the mess yesterday, but not before it reached a nearby creek.

The leak was discovered on Sunday, when about 10 gallons per minute of oily drilling fluid, called mud, gushed from the drill site, according to an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency report filed on Monday.

Seven residents from three houses were evacuated because of the danger that escaping natural gas might lead to an explosion.

According to a U.S. EPA report, a ‘pocket of unexpected natural gas was encountered” during drilling. That caused overpressurization and failure of the well head. One hundred barrels of drilling mud spilled from the well on Sunday, according to the well’s owner, PDC Energy of Colorado, which said some of it reached an unnamed creek near Beverly, Ohio.

An unknown amount of wet gas – a mixture containing crude oil – also escaped.

As of noon on Tuesday, 330 barrels of oil and water had been collected at the site, according to the U.S. EPA.

Drilling mud is used to lubricate the drill bits that cut through layers of […]

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