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Posted on: September 13, 2017

Inadvertent Return Re-Occurrence at Sunoco Drilling Locations

On September 11, 2017, Upper Uwchlan Township received an inspection report from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) detailing a violation of The Clean Streams Law on the part of Sunoco Pipeline, LP. The violation occurred at the site of an inadvertent return (IR) first reported to Upper Uwchlan Township in June. At that time, Sunoco reported that cleanup and containment of the site were conducted and that the private landowner had been informed of the IR. Sunoco provided no further report of the IR to the Township. 

The DEP report details that, at the site of the original IR, additional bentonite drilling mud was released into wetland areas. This release occurred August 29, 2017. DEP was notified and documented the release during an inspection that same day. The drilling mud consisted of bentonite clay and water. An estimated 40-50 gallons was released into the wetland. The release affected wetland and surface water in an unnamed tributary of Marsh Creek Lake. The report notes that no impact was observed downstream; the report does not list the Lake itself as an affected waterway.

In addition, Sunoco has informed Upper Uwchlan Township that an additional release of bentonite has occurred at the site of another previously reported IR in the Township. This release took place on Saturday, September 9, 2017 on Township property near Hickory Park and consisted of one half gallon of drilling mud. Containment measures will be reviewed and approved by the DEP before drilling resumes.

All IRs are logged on the DEP website. Because both releases took place at the site of previously identified IRs, neither constitutes a separate IR on that list.

Township personnel visited both sites on the morning of September 12, 2017 to observe operations and containment measures. Upper Uwchlan Township will continue to work to provide the public with as much information as is made available to us.

Upper Uwchlan Township is a Township of the Second class, population 11,500, located in central Chester County, PA. Visit us on the web at Like us on Facebook and Twitter @upperuwchlan. 


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