Sunoco fined nearly $2M for Pennsylvania pipeline violations

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a nearly $2 million penalty to Sunoco Pipeline for violations at a central Pennsylvania lake.

Construction and drilling related to the Mariner East 2 pipeline project released drilling fluids to the bottom of Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, in a Jan. 16 statement.

The Department of Environmental Protection found that from April to December 2017, Sunoco failed to report the loss of circulation of 3 million gallons of drilling fluid during horizontal drilling, according to the DEP. That resulted in more than 208,000 gallons of drilling fluids surfacing in the lake, covering about 8 acres of the lake bottom.

The discharges violated the state’s Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. Sunoco’s permits require the company to immediately report losses of circulation.

The DEP issued a $1.95 million civil penalty to Sunoco. Additionally, the department is ordering Sunoco to take on a number of environmental projects to improve the aquatic habitat at the lake, including a $1.15 million fish habitat improvement project. The company must also treat 110 acres of Raystown Lake for invasive plant species.

The Mariner East 2 pipeline is an expansion of the Marine East pipeline that was converted from a gasoline line to move natural gas liquids across the state to a processor near Philadelphia.

It runs across the southern portion of the state, crossing through 17 counties.

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