Sunoco is planning to repurpose and reverse the flow of an old 12” line that had previously been used for shipping petroleum products from a Philadelphia refinery to central Pennsylvania. It wants to bypass the incomplete parts of the Dragonpipe (Mariner East 2 pipeline) by channeling the “natural gas liquids” (NGLs) through the 12” line (formally designated the “Point Breeze – Montello Pipeline”). A new connection would be built in northern Chester County, where the NGLs would be switched over to the 12” line, and another one in Middletown Township in Delaware County, where they would be transferred back to the Dragonpipe. More details are here.

This will expose new neighborhoods to the same risks posed by Mariner East 1 and the Dragonpipe, and people have been asking exactly where those neighborhoods are.

For much of the distance, the 12” line runs in the same easement as the ME1 (which is currently in operation), or the Dragonpipe, or both.  I have been reviewing the PHMSA pipeline maps on the public viewing site to try to determine what new areas will be impacted.

As far as I can determine, the 12” line does not deviate from the Dragonpipe route in Delaware County, but it does in Chester County. I can only find two deviations: a major one from Marsh Creek Lake down to Devon Drive in Marchwood, and a small (but possibly significant) one near Lisa Drive, where Sunoco is still trying to stabilize the sinkholes.

The map below shows the route of the Dragonpipe and ME1 (in red) and the route of the 12” line (in yellow) in upper Chester County. What the yellow line illustrates is that a whole new set of neighborhoods in Uwchlan and Upper Uwchlan are impacted by this new project.

Here is the map:

USC map of 12-inch pipeline 7-6-18
Route of 12″ pipeline (yellow) and of ME1/Dragonpipe (uppermost red line). PHMSA screen capture and annotation courtesy of Uwchlan Safety Coalition.

In addition to the deviation shown on the map, I have found only one other point where the 12” pipeline does not follow the Dragonpipe easement. That happens to be in the immediate vicinity of Lisa Drive. There, the 12” line jogs to the east for a few hundred feet before rejoining the easement. As a practical matter, that may possibly protect the 12” line to some degree from disturbance by the sinkhole-filling that Sunoco continues to do at Lisa Drive.

The new Glenwood threat. When the ME1 and Dragonpipe rights of way split in Delaware County just south of Forge Road, the 12″ pipeline follows the Dragonpipe easement. The 12″ pipeline then splits off to the east shortly after it passes Glenwood Elementary School.

The fact that the 12″ pipeline follows the Dragonpipe easement (and not the ME1 easement) for the stretch from Forge Road to Glenwood represents a new threat to those along that easement, including local residents, the Granite Farms retirement community, and the Glenwood School itself. They must now reckon with the fact that stopping construction of the Dragonpipe is not enough to keep them safe from the risks of leaking NGLs. They must prevent the 12″ pipeline from going into operation as well.

A note of thanks. My thanks go to two alert readers who noticed errors in the initial version of this post. They have been corrected. I am always grateful (and humbled) when readers point out my errors.

If readers find other errors or points of deviation and note them in the comments, I will update the post.