Now that the DEP is poised to start approving permits for pipeline work, people are curious as to where those permits are still needed. Is there a place in your neighborhood or near your child’s school where pipeline work could suddenly start up again?
It is possible (if not especially easy) to figure some of this out from the information on the “Mariner East” section of the DEP website.
I have done my best to compile a list of the remaining sites in Delaware and Chester Counties where permits are still required, based on the DEP website information.
In most of the cases that I am familiar with in these two counties, the permits that have not yet been approved are permits that required a public comment period prior to approval. These fall into two general categories: “HDD reevaluations” (seven in Chester County and two in Delaware County) and “major modifications” (two in Chester County and one in Delaware County). For those who are interested, the distinction between these categories is explained at the end of this post.
All of the public comment periods for the “HDD reevaluation” sites listed here are now over (which means there is no longer a chance to comment), but the “major modification” comment periods still have a week to run. (The deadline for commenting is January 13; I will have a post with suggested comments later this week.) In all these cases, after the public-comment period, the DEP can ask for more information from Sunoco (which triggers another public-comment period), or it can just approve the permit. So far, we don’t know which choice the DEP will make for any of these sites.
Here are sites where permits still need approval.
Delaware County HDD reevaluations:
- “Chester Creek (Gun Club) Crossing” This is the HDD going under Chester Creek from Judy Way in Aston to the gun club near Linvilla Orchard. The very first frack-outs in our area were on the Brookhaven side of Chester Creek, during the HDD work for the first pipeline here. Status: There have been two public comment periods, with the second ending on 8/5/19.
- “Slitting Mill Road Crossing” This is the HDD from behind Duffer’s Pub on Route 352 to Slitting Mill Road. Status: There has been one comment period, ending 10/25/19.
Chester County HDD reevaluations:
- “Little Conestoga Road Crossing” This HDD runs southeast from the intersection of Milford Road and Little Conestoga Road in Upper Uwchlan. Status: There has been one comment period, ending 6/11/19.
- “Park Road Crossing” This HDD starts near Park Road, just south of Hickory Park in Upper Uwchlan. It runs under the extensive wetland area at the back of Hickory Park, ending up near Sierra Drive in the Eagleview office park complex. Status: There has been one comment period, ending 7/4/19.
- “Herman O.W. Drive Crossing” This HDD runs from Herman O.W. Drive to Eagleview Drive in the Eagleview office park complex. Status: There have been two public comment periods, with the second ending on 10/1/19.
- “Eagleview Boulevard Crossing” This HDD starts in the parking lot of a shopping plaza on Eagleview Boulevard, then runs under Eagleview Boulevard, eventually ending at N. Whitford Road. Status: There have been two public comment periods, with the second ending on 10/9/19.
- “Phoenixville Pike Road” This HDD runs between Route 202 (next to the Goshen firehouse) and the Corner Park Apartments at the split between Boot Road and Ship Road. Status: The first public comment period for this HDD just ended. (It was scheduled to end 12/31/19 but was extended to 1/5/20 because of the holiday.)
- “Village Square Drive Crossing” This HDD runs from just south of the Giant shopping center along Boot Road to the office park at Enterprise Drive. Status: There has been one comment period, ending 10/10/19.
- “Eldridge Drive / North Chester Road Crossing” This HDD runs from the New Kent Apartments at the Chester Road/Boot Road split, southeast along Chester Road almost to Bow Tree Drive. Status: There has been one comment period, ending 10/4/19.
Delaware County “major modification” site:
- “HDD 0620 Middletown Township, Delaware County” (formerly designated “Glen Riddle Road, Southeastern Pennsylvania RR Crossing”). This is the stretch from Riddlewood down to Tunbridge Apartments in Middletown, Delaware County. Sunoco tried to drill uphill from Tunbridge and ran into numerous problems. They eventually abandoned the pilot hole and decided to switch to open trench construction, plus a “direct pipe bore” under the train tracks. Status: Sunoco has filed a “major modification” request with the DEP. It is currently in the 30-day public-comment period. The deadline is January 13. I am working on a blog post outlining potential comments.
Chester County “major modification” sites:
- “Lisa Drive” (formerly designated “Exton Bypass Crossing”). This runs from the Laborer’s District Council grounds on Business Route 30 southeast and uphill to a location near Stonegate Court. Sunoco’s efforts at HDD along this route created notorious sinkhole problems at Lisa Drive. Now, the plan is to do open trench for part of the route, with a “direct pipe bore” under the Exton Bypass and the Amtrak rails. Status: Sunoco has filed a “major modification” request with the DEP. It is currently in the 30-day public-comment period. The deadline is January 13. I am working on a blog post outlining potential comments.
- “PA Turnpike/HDD 0280, Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County” This is a new route, replacing a problematic section under Marsh Creek Lake. The route has now been moved to the north side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where it follows Meadow Creek Lane. Status: Sunoco has filed a “major modification” request with the DEP. This site, too, is currently in the 30-day public-comment period. The deadline is January 13. I am working on a blog post outlining potential comments.
Other sites? The list above consists of not-yet-approved sites that I am familiar with. There are probably additional locations in the two counties where permits are still awaiting approval. If you are aware of one or more, please mention that in the comments, or get in touch with me using the Contact menu. I will confirm them and update this post accordingly.
The two categories. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that there are two categories of not-yet-approved sites in my list. Here is more explanation about what those categories actually are.
- HDD reevaluations. These are sites where horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is to be used to install the pipe. Under the settlement reached in August, 2017, with the Clean Air Council and others, if there is an inadvertent return (“frack-out”) during the installation of one pipe (either 16-inch or 20-inch), the HDD plans must be reevaluated and a new permit must be approved, before the second pipe can be installed. The sites involved in this process are listed in the HDD Reevaluation Table on the DEP site.
- Major modifications. If there are “major modifications” to the original permit application, the public must be given a chance to comment. These cases generally occur because the installation method has been changed (typically from HDD to open trench). A change of route is also a “major modification” requiring a public comment period.
In the case of HDD reevaluations, there is a 14-day period for public comments. In the case of major modifications, there is a 30-day public-comment period.
Where does the Shoen Rd. drill site stand with regard to permits, reevaluation, etc.? It is my understanding that they are still on hold due to water issues and the “I.R.” Do you have any info?
I don’t have any new information on that. The DEP has been presented with evidence from residents that an IR (frack-out) occurred just uphill from the Shoen Road drill site. Sunoco denies it. I don’t think the DEP has made an official determination. If a reader has additional information, please provide it here!