PUC: Pipeline Safety Investigation Underway Involving Sunoco Pipeline Under Construction In West Whiteland Twp., Chester County

On July 17, the Public Utility Commission announced experts from its Safety Division of the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement are investigating reports of several sinkholes near Sunoco pipelines in West Whiteland Township in Chester County.

I&E has been, and continues to, closely monitor a string of events near the 400 block of East Lincoln Highway and Route 30/Lincoln Highway, in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.

These events occurred near construction being conducted by Sunoco Pipeline LP (Sunoco).

No active pipelines were exposed as a result of the subsidences and engineers from the Safety Division continue to closely monitor the situation.

According to a post on the West Whiteland Township website-- “Energy Transfer [Sunoco] finished boring under Lincoln Highway and the Chester Valley Trail to install casing that will house new pipelines. That work caused sinkholes to open up. The sinkholes follow the construction path of the bore and did not expose any nearby pipelines in operation or create hazards in Lincoln Highway.

“Energy Transfer conducted geophysical tests around the Chester Valley Trail (CVT) and found a void 30 feet underground, which was filled. The CVT reopened on Thursday morning (July 16th). 

“Pipeline construction will continue in that area as Energy Transfer pulls the pipes into the casing. That work could take around 10 days to complete. During that time, Energy Transfer will continue to monitor 24/7 for signs of any more sinkholes.”

[Note: Sunoco previously experienced significant problems with sinkholes constructing the Mariner East 2 Pipeline on Lisa Drivein West Whiteland Township to the point they had to buy two homes.  Read more here.]

The PUC’s Safety Division engineers have been onsite gathering information for their investigation and monitoring the integrity of pipelines in the area. I&E has also been in communication with the Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and West Whiteland Township.

The first subsidence occurred on July 10, with additional events developing over the next several days. Most recently, mid-afternoon today (July 17), growing cracks were reported in the pavement on business Route 30 near the first reported sinkhole location, impacting some traffic on that roadway.

The subsidence locations have been stabilized with grout filling and Sunoco is performing ground-penetrating radar analysis three times per day on the roadway and nearby walking/bike path, along with geophysical testing along the pipeline right of way.

Safety Division engineers and geotechnical experts will independently analyze all data collected by the company.  

Additionally, the company has committed to 24/7 monitoring of the right of way and road crossing area.

Related Articles:

-- Senate Committee Moves Bill Requiring Pipeline Companies To Make Emergency Plans Available

-- Delaware RiverKeeper Files Legal Challenge To Section 401 Federal Clean Water Act Permitting Rollback

-- Senate, House Pass New Tax Credit Program To Encourage Natural Gas Use In Manufacturing; Governor Will Sign

-- CFA Awards Over $1 Million In Pipeline Investment Program Grants In Monroe, Snyder Counties

[Posted: July 17, 2020]


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