Residents in Chester County, Pennsylvania, have been without water since the July 4th weekend when they discovered their water had become murky or their wells had run dry, presumably due to horizontal drilling on the Sunoco Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline. The $2.5 billion pipeline project will transport natural gas liquids 350 miles across the state, carrying propane, ethane, and butane from the Marcellus Shale fields in Ohio and western Pennsylvania to Delaware County, where it will be shipped overseas to make plastics.
Sunoco reported they had punctured an aquifer while drilling on June 22, which was reported to township officials.
When homeowners began to report bad water around the holiday weekend, Sunoco had said it would continue drilling until test results on the water supply came back, a judgment that caused state senator Andy Dinniman to contact Sunoco and strongly suggest the oil company was rushing to resume drilling with little concern about any damage it's construction had done to the area's water supply.
As of today, Sunoco has halted drilling north of the incident site until further notice.
Earlier this week, Sunoco agreed to township officials request to pay for the cost to hook up residents with well water to the public water system. Not all of the affected homeowners want to be connected to the public water, citing additional costs for what they now get for free from their wells.
Jeff Shields, a spokesman for Sunoco, said Sunoco would pay for the new water infrastructure to be built, and would pay for water bills using a lump sum formula that calculated average usage. It wasn’t clear how long the company would pay the water bills.