Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has cleared the way for Sunoco Pipeline LP to reroute part of its Mariner East natural gas liquids system near Marsh Creek Lake State Park in Chester County, PA.

Energy Transfer

Construction was halted last August when drilling fluids and mud seeped into a part of the lake called Ranger Cove during the pipeline installation. The cove then was closed.

As part of a settlement, Sunoco agreed to pay $4 million to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The company also agreed to dredge Ranger Cove and pay a $341,000 civil penalty for permit violations.

In return, DEP approved major amendment applications and permits allowing for a new route and pipeline installation method.

“Southeast Pennsylvania lost a significant recreational resource when the impacted area of the lake was closed due to the drilling fluid impacts, and many residents and community members expressed the need to restore those opportunities,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “This resolution will put us on the fastest track possible to dredge and restore Ranger Cove, and also will result in habitat and visitor improvements at Pennsylvania’s fifth most-visited state park.”

The modification changes the pipeline route slightly on a 1,400-foot section of the line, according to Energy Transfer LP, which is expanding the pipeline system. Once work begins, installation takes five to 10 weeks. No drilling fluids would be used, the company said.

The pipeline system, which traverses Pennsylvania and extends into Ohio and West Virginia, can move 280,000-300,000 b/d of liquefied petroleum gas and 70,000 b/d of ethane eastward. Online since 2016, the pipeline project has faced numerous regulatory, legal and construction setbacks.

In October, the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania ordered the public release of emails between Energy Transfer/Sunoco LP and officials with Middletown Township. In late May, a water main break that occurred during ME construction left residents of the Glen Riddle Station Apartments without water and prompted subsequent questions from the apartment complex owner about whether the water was safe to drink after service was restored.