Within the last few days, construction of the Dragonpipe (Mariner East pipeline system) has been shut down at two sites by incidents at two horizontal directional drilling (HDD) locations in Chester County.
In one incident that came to light on Monday (August 10), a release of drilling mud into a tributary leading to Marsh Creek Lake has polluted a section of the lake. The lake is a major drinking-water source for a large population in Chester County. The mud came from an “inadvertent return” (frac-out) of at least a thousand gallons.
In a separate incident, less than 10 miles away at Shoen Road, HDD drilling punctured an aquifer, flooding the drill site with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. That flooding (which continued for several days until work was finally stopped on Saturday, August 8) plus an associated frac-out, has caused stream pollution among other problems. Two earlier drilling attempts at Shoen Road had also resulted in aquifer strikes and had been abandoned.
The Department of Environmental Protection is apparently investigating both incidents. Sunoco is required, by a 2017 consent agreement, to stop its construction activities when a frac-out occurs until it gets a go-ahead from the DEP to resume work.
Both incidents will be covered in more detail in blog posts in the next day or two.