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Mariner Gas Pipeline and Construction Shut Down Again

Sinkholes resulting from Sunoco construction drilling cited

March 08, 2018

Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission on Wednesday ordered a temporary shutdown of the Mariner East 1 natural gas liquids pipeline, saying it could have a “catastrophic” effect on public safety if it leaks.

As reported by NPR's Pennsylvania StateImpact, sinkholes near the construction of two other pipelines, the Mariner East 2 and 2X  in Chester County, Pennsylvania, exposed the already operating Mariner East 1 pipeline which carries natural gas liquids.

Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement ordered an emergency stop to the the Mariner East 1 line operation, saying it could have a “catastrophic” effect on public safety if it leaks.

The first sinkhole was noticed last December near an Amtrak railroad track, then two more holes appeared this month. Sunoco did not notify the state's utility commission nor PHMSA about the three sinkholes until March 3.

Sunoco has 24-hours to run an inspection tool through Mariner East 1 for one mile on either side of the location where the sink holes were found. Within 12 hours of completing the inspection, Sunoco will then shut down the line for an estimated 10-14 days, during which it will study geological conditions and submit its findings for approval by PUC inspectors. Sunoco will not be allowed to resume operation of the pipeline until it meets all safety requirements set down by PUC inspectors, the order said.

The stop order does not affect Mariner East 2 pipeline construction in other locations.

Sunoco had just restarted construction in February after a month-long shutdown by the EPA.

For more, read StateImpact's article and the halt order here:

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