Thursday, February 27, 2020

PUC Requires Remaining Life Study, Public Reporting On Integrity Of Sunoco's Mariner East I Pipeline; Issues $200,000 Penalty

On February 27, the Public Utility Commission announced it is directing an independent “remaining life study” of the Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline crossing Pennsylvania, along with enhanced public reporting of pipeline integrity activities, in the wake of a pipeline leak near Morgantown, Berks County.
The Commission also requires Sunoco to pay a $200,000 penalty.
The Commission voted 5-0 in favor of a motion by Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille approving a joint settlement between the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and Sunoco Pipeline L.P. (Sunoco)-- with modifications to enhance transparency-- in response to a pipeline safety complaint regarding an April 2017 leak involving approximately 840 gallons of ethane and propane.
Key components of the settlement include:
-- A $200,000 civil penalty for Sunoco, payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to be paid within 30 days of the approval of the settlement.
-- A remaining life study of ME1, to be conducted by an independent expert, intended to assess the longevity of the pipeline-- including calculations regarding the remaining life of the pipeline; corrosion growth rates; a schedule of replacement or remediation work over the next five years; a list of specific threats and highest risks to the pipeline; and other factors detailed in the settlement – to be completed within six months of the independent expert being selected and contracted, and including a public summary of the expert’s findings. 
-- Annual reports from Sunoco to the PUC, for as long as ME1 remains in service transporting highly volatile liquids, as a supplement to the remaining life study, summarizing ongoing evaluations and assessments of pipeline integrity; a list of integrity enhancements performed during the prior year; and planned preventative actions and improvements for the coming year – to include public versions of these annual reports.
-- Surveys of ME1 for the next three years to evaluate the effectiveness of Sunoco’s corrosion control program – to be followed by discussions with I&E regarding corrosion analysis and inspection frequencies.
-- Annual progress reports by Sunoco to the PUC for the next three years, documenting compliance with the terms of the Commission’s Order and the settlement.
(Photo: Blue line is Mariner East 1 Pipeline.)
Related Articles:
[Posted: February 27, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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