Neighbors worry as sinkholes crop up near Mariner East pipeline construction

Concerns have grown near the construction of the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline.

People are understandably upset after sinkholes are cropping up.

Orange cones squeeze traffic along.Route 30 in West Whiteland Township and, as motorists pass, they see Sunoco workers with heavy equipment filling a hole right along the busy Chester County road.

“One little shift in the ground and it cracks a seal or cracks that pipe. Then we have a huge blast area,” stated activist Lora Snyder.

That’s what activists fear as Sunoco pushes ahead with construction of its controversial Mariner East pipeline.

According to state regulators, sinkholes opened here earlier in the month prompting state Public Utility Control to open an investigation.

On a rainy day, Snyder came by for a look and snapped a photo.

“Came down here, there was about 20 workers in the road and there was a huge sinkhole right behind us,” Snyder explained.

It’s far from the only problem Sunoco has had as it strings its pipeline, carrying natural gas liquids, from Western Pennsylvania, through Chester and Delaware Counties to the Delaware River.

Gaping sinkholes along Lucy Drive in West Whiteland two years ago forced the temporary shut down of construction.

Back along Route 30, an activist claims the first holes opened in June and now there are several.

“I don’t know why they didn’t stop on the second or third of seven, eight or nine. It’s ridiculous and it scares me,” activist Chris DiGiulio said.

State regulators say they’re watching the other active pipelines and installations in the area and Sunoco is keeping an eye out for cracks in the road and nearby bike path.

Activists say the only answer is a full shutdown.

“The ground can give way underneath and there’s active pipes and they can blow up if they’re cracked. We don’t know and I don’t want to find out,” DiGiulio added.


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