The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered an Energy Transfer LP (ET) affiliate to stop all work and “immediately” stabilize disturbed areas and repair erosion controls after several violations were discovered during the investigation of the Revolution Pipeline explosion.
The DEP has been conducting an investigation into the environmental impacts of the explosion on Sept. 10 of a 24-inch diameter gathering segment of the system in Center Township. The agency said it has collected and subpoenaed documents, interviewed witnesses, and inspected both the explosion site and the entire length of the pipeline. The order stops ongoing repair work on the affected segment.
Inspections discovered violations that include unreported landslides, impacts to aquatic resources, construction activity in unpermitted areas and several sections of pipeline that required installing additional measures to prevent accelerated erosion. The field order issued on Tuesday requires ET affiliate ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC to stabilize disturbed areas within four days, flag the boundaries of the permitted area, provide an updated erosion control plan and provide an updated post construction stormwater management plan.
ET spokesperson Alexis Daniel said the company remains in “continued communication” with the agency and she added that it has “and will continue to comply with their orders.”
Daniel added “our first priority” is the “safety of the surrounding area and the community.”
Revolution is not in service. The segment that exploded is part of the broader 100-mile system that is complete and moves about 400 MMcf/d of natural gas for processing in Pennsylvania from Butler County to Washington County. ET has said that torrential rain and saturated ground likely caused the pipeline to slip and explode. There were no injuries, but the incident damaged property and took down power lines.
The pipeline was brought online just days before the explosion, with the purging and packing of gathering lines that feed the cryogenic processing plant in Washington County underway at the time of the blast.
It’s unclear when service might resume on the system. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is leading the investigation, but DEP said it could take additional enforcement actions on the violations, including possible civil penalties.