Aug. 07–The state Department of Environmental Protection has fined Sunoco Pipeline LP $148,000 for violations of the Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachment Act that occurred during the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Berks, Chester and Lebanon counties.
In all three counties, Sunoco impacted the private water supplies of several residents by causing cloudy, turbid, discolored and/or lost water in their wells, in addition to causing pollution and potential pollution to waters of the commonwealth, according to a DEP news release.
In Chester County, Sunoco also failed to immediately notify the DEP of the adverse impacts on private water supplies, the release said.
“Sunoco’s actions violated the law and will not be tolerated,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in the release. “Sunoco cannot impact water supplies. If it does, Sunoco must address those impacts to the satisfaction of the water supply’s owner, including replacement or restoration of the impacted water supply.”
The collected penalty will be divided and deposited into the Clean Water Fund and the Dams and Encroachments Fund.
“No company is above the law,” McDonnell added. “Sunoco must comply with all conditions in its permits. DEP will continue to monitor Sunoco’s compliance with those conditions and take all steps necessary to ensure Sunoco complies with its permits and the law.”
Sunoco spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said the fine is the result of months of negotiations regarding prior water issues that have been remedied with each homeowner.
“It is always our intent to fully comply with the terms and conditions of all our permits when constructing and operating our pipelines,” Dillinger said in an email. “It is important to note that these unintentional violations are a result of underground drilling construction activities (and) that we have since made adjustments to the designs that the DEP has approved.
“In addition, we are going beyond requirements by notifying landowners with wells in proximity to HDDs (horizontal directional drillings) to proactively provide water supply options as a precaution.”
Dillinger also claims that there “has been no long term impact to water anywhere.”
The $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 project traverses 17 counties in southern Pennsylvania. Work started in Berks in April 2017 on two 20-inch pipelines through Brecknock, Caernarvon, Cumru, Robeson, South Heidelberg and Spring townships, and New Morgan.
The pipelines will carry natural gas liquids east from the Marcellus and Utica shale areas in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River in Delaware County.
From Marcus Hook, most of those liquids — propane, ethane and butane — will be shipped overseas for use in plastics manufacturing.
Mainline construction is about 99 percent complete, and safety tests that are required before the pipeline can be put in service are about 79 percent complete, Dillinger said recently.
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