Your help is needed! If Sunoco’s new plan goes through, it will bring the risk of NGL leaks to Middletown and Aston Townships in southern Delaware County long before other parts of the Dragonpipe (Mariner East 2 pipeline) are completed. We have a chance to stop this plan if we act right away (see details at the end of this post).
Sunoco’s plan involves using an old 12” petroleum-products pipeline as a route to bypass the incomplete sections of the Dragonpipe in Chester and Delaware counties. Assuming the construction of the Dragonpipe everywhere else is completed (and Sunoco is nearing that point), “natural gas liquids” (NGLs) would then have a way to flow from western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook. More details on Sunoco’s plan are here.
New NGL threat in Delaware County. The use of the 12” pipe would affect two areas in particular. Yesterday, I wrote about one of them (the threat to Uwchlan and Upper Uwchlan, where whole new neighborhoods are exposed to risk under this plan). The other area is in the southern half of Delaware County, where Sunoco’s plan would bring the threat of NGLs much sooner than expected. That is the subject of this post.
At the top of the map below, you can see that the path of the ME1, Dragonpipe (ME2), and the old 12” pipe all run in the same easement as they come southward to Forge Road. Below Forge Road, they split. The ME1 heads south to Marcus Hook, while the Dragonpipe right-of-way follows the route of the 12” line going southeast.
The southern connection between the 12” line and the Dragonpipe will probably be made at the valve station behind Glenwood Elementary School (arrow at the bottom of the map). In Sunoco’s plan, that’s where the NGLs would be transferred over to the Dragonpipe for transport to Marcus Hook. The remaining part of the 12” line (which goes to the refinery at Point Breeze in Philadelphia) would presumably go unused.
Until now, it has only been people along the ME1 route that have had to live with the constant risk of NGL leaks, because the ME1 was the only active pipeline. If Sunoco’s new plan is implemented, there will be two pipelines. Suddenly, everyone from Forge Road south along the Dragonpipe route will face the specter of living with NGLs, and far sooner than they anticipated—possibly within just a few weeks.
For Sunoco’s scheme to work, they need to complete the Dragonpipe from Glenwood down to Marcus Hook. The primary missing piece in that area seems to be the stretch going north from the drill site at Tunbridge Apartments. This new plan probably explains why Sunoco has been working so feverishly at Tunbridge, while the other Delaware County construction sites have been relatively quiet. Until they finish the Tunbridge stretch, this new plan can’t work.
We need the PUC to intervene. The quickest way to put a stop to this plan is to file an “emergency petition” with the Public Utility Commission (PUC), because of the safety risk involving in using the 12” pipeline (which was constructed in 1937). An emergency petition is what led to the temporary ME1 shutdown in West Whiteland. I think the right party to file with the PUC is the Middletown Township Council.
There is a strong case for this petition: the use of the 12”pipeline violates Federal guidelines (more details are here ). In addition, there is the abysmal track record of ME1 (also a repurposed pipeline from the 1930s), which has already leaked at least three times since it was converted for NGL transport in 2014. The threat to public safety is clear.
Come to Monday’s Middletown Township meeting. To get the Township to move on this, we need you to make your presence felt. Come to the Township Council meeting on Monday.
- Location: Township Building, 27 North Pennell Road, Middletown (Lima)
- Date: Monday, July 9
- Time: 7:00 pm
A packed room is the only way the Township Council will get the message that they need to act now. I hope to see you there!