Natural gas drilling will likely resume in Chester County in the very near future. Energy Transfer LP, the parent company of Sunoco and owner and operator of the ever-controversial Mariner East pipeline projects have recently made their plan to restart the drilling portion of their operation in the Chester County area after they left as many as fifteen households waterless by damaging a local aquifer.
The incident began in the summer of 2017 when residents of Whiteland Township who use well water reported that their tap water was cloudy, according to NPR’s State Impact. After an investigation, it was determined that the cause of the cloudy water was a break in the aquifer that supplied the well water as a result of Sunoco’s drilling and pipeline construction. Sunoco halted all operations in July of 2017 and has remained inactive in the area ever since.
Affected residents were forced from their homes, many losing access to their wells entirely. For Energy Transfer and Sunoco, it was another bump on a long road of problems with the entire Mariner East program. The PA Department of Environmental Protection gave Sunoco a list of issues to address and fix, which they have complied with. Now, after nearly two years of inactivity, Energy Transfer has alerted residents of Chester County that they intend to restart drilling.
Even given Sunoco’s compliance, residents still express worry over future problems. Energy Transfer CEO has tried to ease their anxiety, stating that “We’ve made mistakes, and are correcting those mistakes, and will not make those mistakes again”.