There is good news to report: a risk assessment of the Dragonpipe (Mariner East 2 pipeline) is finally on its way.
You probably already know that no thorough quantitative study of the risks associated with the Dragonpipe has been done. It is rumored that Sunoco has done one internally, but if so the public has never seen it. Such a study would reveal the size of the threat to life and health from a pipeline leak, and would help local emergency teams and hospitals plan their response to such an incident.
There have been several attempts to get a risk assessment done, but they have run into obstacles of one kind or another. The effort by State Senator Andy Dinniman to encourage a citizens’ group to undertake a risk assessment got stalled for a while, and Delaware County Council’s move to commission one experienced a false start and was recently restarted, with an unclear timeline.
Now, it looks as though it will finally happen. Last week, the citizens’ group Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety (DCU) signed a contract for a risk assessment covering Delaware and Chester counties, and it will be done by late summer. However, some of the funds for the study have yet to be raised. It will cost almost $50,000. About half of that amount has been raised by an online GoFundMe effort that received over 300 contributions; now the other half must be found.
East Goshen steps up. An important milestone in that fundraising effort occurred last night (July 3). The board of supervisors of East Goshen Township voted unanimously to contribute $5,000 to the DCU risk assessment. East Goshen is the first municipality to step forward with funds, but there are others along the pipeline route that are likely to help out as well. These municipalities have been waiting for a contract with a vendor, and now that one has been signed, DCU will be approaching them for help. It is critical that the municipalities provide support—the small donors that helped with the GoFundMe were generous, but small donors alone will not be enough to get this study done.
DCU has also negotiated an option to purchase the software package used by the vendor to produce the consequences part of its analysis. With that software, various inputs can be changed, so that risks can be analyzed for any pipeline. If sufficient funds are raised, DCU anticipates exercising this option, which DCU can then use to understand the risk— both from the Dragonpipe and any other existing or future pipeline project—to homes, schools, businesses, churches, libraries, and other places of assembly that might be affected.