Pennsylvania DEP to Sunoco: Your pipelines are showing
The state Department of Environmental Protection is ordering Sunoco Pipeline LP to cover up portions of its pipeline network that have become exposed over time.
The order follows the discovery of an exposed pipeline in June by the state Public Utility Commission, which then requested that Sunoco report any additional exposed pipelines to DEP and PUC.
In total, portions of Sunoco’s pipeline network located throughout the state are exposed at 43 locations, DEP said. Forty-two are used for transporting refined petroleum products, and one is used for transporting natural gas liquids. None are located at ongoing construction areas.
DEP spokeswoman Elizabeth Rementer said the locations cannot be disclosed for security reasons.
Of the 43 locations, 10 do not require a permit because of their location, 14 are undergoing or about to undergo remediation, 10 are awaiting permit approval from DEP and nine still require the submission of permit applications, DEP said.
Energy Transfer spokeswoman Lisa Coleman said DEP’s order “took us by surprise” because “we have been working cooperatively with the DEP to address these areas.” Sunoco Pipeline is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer.
Coleman said it’s not unusual for pipelines to become exposed during the normal course of operations — a point acknowledged by DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell in a statement.
“Pipelines can become exposed over time due to erosion in stream channels or due to their position in the ground, since many were constructed before there were standards on how deep they should be buried,” McDonnell said. “These identified pipelines are now exposed to weather, flooding and vandalism, which can result in a failure of the pipeline and subsequent impacts to our waterways, so it’s critical that Sunoco addresses them immediately.”
According to the order, Sunoco has 30 days to apply for all needed permits on remaining sites. Once permits and approvals are obtained, Sunoco will have 60 days to bury all exposed pipelines to the appropriate amount of cover and then “fully stabilize and restore the site,” DEP said.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .