Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline in Chester County

Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline in Chester County

Sunoco Logistics has begun work to expand the existing Mariner East pipeline system through the construction of the Mariner East 2 (PA Pipeline Project) project. When constructed, this project will transport natural gas liquids from Ohio and the Pittsburgh area to the Marcus Hook facility for both domestic distribution and export. The Mariner East 2 pipeline, proposes approximately 350 miles of pipe, spanning Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Mariner East 2 will have an initial capacity of about 275,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids using a 20″ diameter pipeline. The length of the project through Chester County is approximately 23.6 miles and in Delaware County, 11.4 miles. Approximately 80% of the Mariner East 2/PA Pipeline Project is to be located within existing right-of-ways.

Mariner Pipeline Project MapRecently, Sunoco’s operations punctured an aquifer within Chester County which is utilized by residents as a supply for drinking water. As a result, Sunoco has agreed to halt drilling operations related to the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction in Chester County where 15 households have been without water for the past couple weeks due to the aquifer intrusion by horizontal directional drilling.

Sunoco did report that its drilling caused water to drain from the private aquifer and lower the water table, causing the contamination. But the company continued drilling and didn’t notify residents because, at that point, there was no indication of water contamination. Initially, the clouding of the water in Exton was suspected to be from non-toxic bentonite clay, commonly used in drilling as a lubricant. But tests on the wells of 30 homes show only ground water and sediment in their water, not bentonite clay. Post-drilling water tests compared to the baseline results showed differences in turbidity, or cloudiness, and some elevated iron measures – changes that would affect the taste and smell of the water – but no changes in key health-affecting content.

Mariner Pipeline Project Welding

Residents in the region, advocates, and local politicians are concerned that more problems are imminent if Sunoco resumes drilling. Late last month, a coalition of local environmental groups from suburban Pennsylvania said it had gathered about 1,200 signatures of residents who want the Mariner East 2 project halted because of water contamination fears. Although Sunoco is required by the Department of Environmental Protection to inform water users along the route about construction at least 72 hours before it began, most said they were not informed.
Sunoco has been supplying bottled water and offered to pay for hotel rooms so impacted residents can shower and bathe since the July 4th holiday weekend, when it was first notified by home owners that their wells had either run dry or had tainted water. Additionally, Sunoco agreed to pay for a new water line to connect residents to a public drinking water source supplied by Aqua. Aqua had agreed to have a new water main installed within three weeks.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it will enforce a Consent Order and Agreement (COA) with Sunoco Pipeline L.P. (Sunoco) for violations associated with its Mariner East 2 project in West Whiteland and Uwchlan Townships, Chester County.

pipeline signs

“The corrective actions outlined in the COA are steps DEP is taking to hold Sunoco accountable and protect local residents,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP is conducting its own independent investigation of this pollution event and reserves the right to assess further enforcement, as appropriate.”

Most recently, Horizontal directional drilling has been allowed to resume at two Chester County locations of the Sunoco Mariner East 2 Pipeline. Horizontal directional drilling was allowed to resume at Ship Road in West Whiteland and at Eagleview Boulevard in Uwchlan Township.

Problems With Stormwater Infiltration And Easy Ways To Correct Them

Problems With Stormwater Infiltration And Easy Ways To Correct Them

Stormwater management is essentially the process of trying to mimic pre-development hydrology with post-development site planning and engineering. Early attempts focused on managing the rate of precipitation leaving a site, but now we take a more integrated approach that incorporates rate, volume, and water quality. It’s not surprising that a stormwater management approach that focuses on infiltrating water back into the soil has gained popularity. However, with all good things there can be the potential for problems, and stormwater infiltration is not immune to those problems. Listed below are 3 common problems that arise when infiltrating stormwater and some easy ways to correct them.

1. The Soils

When designing a site plan it’s tempting to immediately pencil in the stormwater BMPs in the low spots and to rely on the NRCS soil map and the hydrologic soil groups to assume that it will all work out when things get constructed. Unfortunately, although soil maps are a nice place to start, and it would make life so simple to send water to those low areas, believing in either or both of those assumptions is likely leading you to some future construction problems. Soils can change dramatically over a small extent and knowing what is there before you commit to a site layout will save you headaches further into the project.

You’ll want to get a look at the soil through a soil test pit to determine any limitations to stormwater renovation. Assuming the soil looks suitable, you’ll want to conduct an infiltration test. Most test procedures are based on measuring the saturated hydraulic conductivity. The point is to measure the rate of water moving into the soil. Once you know the soil is suitable for renovating stormwater and you have a measured rate at which it can infiltrate water, you can properly site and size your infiltration BMP.

2. Compaction

You have the perfect soil, in the exact location you want to place a BMP..… until you destroy the soil during construction. Now your perfect soil is the functional equivalent of concrete. The most frustrating thing about compaction is that it can be minimized or avoided with just some simple construction and project planning techniques.

First, limit vehicle and foot traffic in areas that will be used for infiltration. Second, excavate out most of the soil you need to remove, but leave 6 to 12 inches in place. Then, as you are ready to finalize the BMP, remove the remaining soil as you back the equipment out of the area.

3. Siltation

During any land development project, the use of erosion and sediment controls are common. How many times has there been a proposed infiltration BMP used as a sediment trap during construction, but when converted to an infiltration basin all the erosion controls are taken away? What you’re left with is a vulnerable BMP just waiting for a precipitation event to funnel all that upslope soil into the basin before vegetation has been established. If the silt and clay get into the basin before significant vegetation establishment occurs, the infiltration surface “silts over” and the infiltration rate plummets. Now you’ve effectively turned your infiltration basin into a stagnant retention pond. Stopping this from happening is easy, just make sure proper erosion and sediment control measures are in place around the BMP. Things like Silt Soxx or silt fence work great to accomplish this.

As discussed, fixing problems is always harder and more costly than avoiding them. Take the time upfront during planning to understand the soil conditions of your site. Think out construction sequences and equipment work flow and spend a little more time prepping the infiltration BMP to avoid compaction. Finally, protect the infiltration BMP like the valuable piece of infrastructure it is. Although they are often simple in regards to design and construction, infiltration BMPs need some attention during and post construction to assure their designed function is realized.