Sinkhole opens up due to pipeline construction

[This article from the WCU student newspaper shows, through local residents’ reactions, some of the types of personal impact from the rushed and rule-breaking Sunoco pipeline construction just north and east of the Borough: yards are destroyed, homeowners could need to evacuate, real estate values may fall… and all that without the feared catastrophic gas release or explosion.]

Kelly Witman, Special to the Quad, December 4, 2017

West Whiteland resident Thomas Allen suffered the consequences of a sinkhole that opened up in his backyard on Nov. 11 during a drilling for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The incident, referred to as an “inadvertent return,” was caused by Sunoco’s horizontal directional drilling (HDD) that released about 1,500 gallons of drilling mud—a mixture of bentonite clay and water—on Allen’s property, forming an eight-by-eight-foot sinkhole.

“This isn’t just a spill or inadvertent return, I might have to move out of my house,” said Allen. “My house may be condemned.”

Allen explained that after the incident, Sunoco’s cleanup crew came for one day to contain the spill but did not perform a complete cleanup. Sunoco fenced in the backyard and placed a piece of wood over the hole. “There’s still mud all over my yard. My backyard is unusable and I can’t even get to my shed,” said Allen.

Allen expressed dissatisfaction with the way Sunoco and the Department of Environmental Protection have been handling the situation.

“I haven’t heard from the DEP at all,” said Allen. “All I’ve got from the DEP was a Notice of Violation saying Sunoco knew about this since August and has been lying about it.”…

read more at the Quad

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