The latest incident from Energy Transfer’s pipeline construction in West Whiteland occurred at the Shoen Road drill site earlier this month - an inadvertent return of drilling mud in a seep by the road. As a result of the inadvertent return, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shut down construction at the drill site. Inspectors from DEP and the Chester County Conservation District have been at the site frequently since then.
Energy Transfer filed an appeal of DEP’s decision to shut down the drill site with the Environmental Hearing Board. An EHB administrative law judge granted ET temporary approval to resume drilling at Shoen Road, pending the outcome of the appeal. On August 26th, the West Whiteland Board of Supervisors filed a petition with the Environmental Hearing Board to intervene in the appeal. On August 28th, Energy Transfer withdrew its appeal, making the Township’s petition to intervene moot.
DEP announced that Sunoco has committed to implementing several enhancement measures to mitigate and contain the seep. The measures include having additional personnel and frac tanks at the site to avoid evening hauling as an accommodation to residents and noise concerns. As a result, DEP agreed that Sunoco can continue to drill at Shoen Road.
Last month, sinkholes opened up near the Chester Valley Trail and Lincoln Hwy due to pipeline construction. Now that the pipelines are installed there (but are not yet in operation) and construction is complete, Energy Transfer conducted another round of geophysical testing in mid-August to determine whether there is evidence of any more underground voids in that area. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) continues to investigate and will review the results of that testing. Township officials have asked to be updated when the investigation is complete.