HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it has issued a $1.95 million civil penalty to Sunoco Pipeline for violations resulting from construction activities on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project at Raystown Lake in Penn Township, Huntingdon County.
“Sunoco’s drilling activities resulted in the release of drilling fluids to the bottom of Raystown Lake. In numerous cases, the company failed to immediately report those releases,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
DEP discovered that between April and December 2017, Sunoco failed to immediately report losses of circulation comprising of 3 million gallons of drilling fluid during horizontal directional drilling (HDD) activities. As a result, more than 208,000 gallons of drilling fluids surfaced as an inadvertent return covering approximately 8 acres of the lake bottom
Unauthorized discharges of drilling fluids violate the state’s Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. Sunoco’s permits require the company to immediately report losses of circulation
Local officials say visitors to the lake don’t have to worry about being affected.
“There’s no affects to boating, swimming, fishing, any recreational activities that could do last year, the year before, you’ll be able to do again this year and see no change to that,” Jacob Hohman, Park Ranger at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
On top of the fine, the dep is requiring the fuel company to start environmental projects to help the aquatic habitat at Raystown Lake.
Sunoco will also need to turn in plans to improve the fish habitat, and to control invasive vegetation, in the lake.