Daniel Walmer- USA Today
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is fining Sunoco $87,600 and promising a full release of incidents related to Mariner East 2 pipeline construction, the department said Friday afternoon.
The fine stems from a violation that impacted a wetland area near Interstate 81 in Cumberland County, the DEP said.
Sunoco has also been issued four Notices of Violation -- two for incidents involving drilling mud, a mix of water and bentonite clay that DEP says is non-toxic and "not expected to have any lasting effects on impacted waters of the Commonwealth."
The Mariner East 2 pipeline will transport natural gas liquids from Marcellus-Shale rich areas in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia, crossing Lebanon County in the process.
“With so much concern about the Mariner East 2 pipeline the public needs to know that DEP is taking its oversight and regulatory enforcement role seriously,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell in the news release.
However, documents released this week by DEP and made available online by StateImpact Pennsylvania disclose 61 drilling mud spills in 10 counties, including seven in Lancaster County. There were no spills in Lebanon County reported in those documents.
The department also clarified its oversight of private wells after 15 wells in Chester County were impacted by a drilling incident. Pennsylvania law doesn't regulate private drinking water well construction and private well owners don't have to register wells, so DEP has no data to use to protect such wells during permitting, the agency said in the news release.
However, DEP said, it did evaluate "potential impacts to private water supplies as part of normal permit application review process" and its conditions related to private wells went beyond existing requirements.
"The permits are among the most stringent DEP has ever issued for this type of construction activity related to protection of private drinking water wells," DEP said.