A company has halted Marcellus drilling in one northwestern Pennsylvania town after a clay-like material used to expedite the process spilled into a local reservoir.
Hunt Marcellus Operating Co. said it stopped drilling in Johnsonburg after some bentonite gel released into Silver Creek and made its way into a drinking water reservoir controlled by the Johnsonburg Municipal Authority.
Bentonite is a form of impure clay that easily absorbs water and facilitates gas and oil well drilling.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much of the substance got into the reservoir.
But water authority chairman Eric Poague said the substance should not affect the safety of the water, though it could make it cloudy, because bentonite is a “non-toxic substance that comes from the earth.”