Sunoco discusses possible 24/7 drilling option in East Goshen

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website and the Delaware County Daily Times‘ website.
Representatives from Sunoco Logistics attended an East Goshen Township Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss drilling options for the Mariner East project. (Candice Monhollan)

Representatives from Sunoco Logistics attended an East Goshen Township Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss drilling options for the Mariner East project. (Candice Monhollan)

EAST GOSHEN — Sunoco Logistics is just waiting for its permit approvals before it begins on the Mariner East 2 project, which runs through East Goshen.

Officials from Sunoco attended a special meeting of the board of supervisors, held especially for an update from the company on Feb. 23.

Mariner East 2 will involve the placement of a new pipeline across Pennsylvania and run alongside the existing Mariner East 1 pipe, which has been in the ground since the 1930s.

“Mariner 2 is a 20-inch pipeline,” said Donald Zoladkiewicz, who works in community relations for Sunoco Logistics. “We have recently announced that we are in an open season. We know today that the 20-inch (Mariner 2) is a go and the 16-inch is still in what we call an open season. That open season dictates whether or not we come out of the open-season process with a project or not.”

…[Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

While the second, 16-inch line – an expansion to Mariner East 2 – is currently up in the air, Sunoco is also having a delay obtaining its permits required to build the 20-inch pipeline, which comes from federal and state agencies, such as the state Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

However, Sunoco is still pushing ahead to get the easements signed from landowners along the Mariner East corridor, many of whom are still reluctant to give their agreement and signatures and voiced their opinions at the meeting.

“As many of you probably already know, we have two pipelines running through the township and we’re intending to build this pipeline within the existing easement of those pipelines we have in the ground today,” said Matt Gordon, principal engineer and overall project manager for Mariner East. “Those easements have been there since the ‘30s, so we’ve been operating through the township for a very long time.”

Gordon laid out the method Sunoco is intending to use to place the new pipe through East Goshen, which would be with horizontal directional drilling (HDD).

“Almost the entire town- ship is (HDD),” Gordon said. “There are short sections … where the drills start and stop and we have to open a ditch in between to install a piece of pipe between the drills and connect everything together.”

Gordon stressed why HDD is a better way, especially in a high-traffic area such as East Goshen has with Paoli Pike and Boot Road.

“You do not want us taking a backhoe out and shutting down those roads to dig a ditch,” he said. “We would be there for a very long time and your township would be gridlocked. Since PennDOT is in charge of these roads, they also do not want us digging these roads up any more than we would have to.”

HDD would happen under the ground, leaving no disturbance to the roadways and residents who are not near the drills would barely notice anything going on, Gordon said.

Those by the drill, though, would face a different scenario since the drill registers 85 decibels, or about the same as a running tractor-trailer. To help dampen the sound, Sunoco plans to use noise curtains around the drills.

“If that drill machine is in your backyard and you don’t normally have a tractor-trailer idling in your backyard, you’re going to notice it,” Gordon said. “When you’ve lived in the same house for 20 years and you’re used to the same level of ambient noise and something’s different, it might stick out to you.”

Gordon said that to help people who have to face the noise, Sunoco has, in the past, put people up in hotels or have paid a financial compensation for the nuisance.

There is currently planned for four locations in East Goshen where the drills will be placed.

The project, once underway, is expected to take six to eight months with six 10-hour days per week.

To cut the project time down to three months, Sunoco offered that it could instead work 24 hours per day for all seven days a week, which brought a lot of unhappy grumbling from the gathered residents.

However, Sunoco cannot make that decision itself. Instead, Sunoco must leave it up to the township to decide whether it takes the eight months or the 24/7 route, which the board of supervisors said it would hold a resident meeting at a later date when the time comes to make a decision.”

“We’re trying to look at every option we can,” Gordon said.

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