Compliance Order Issued After Pipeline Explosion

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported that its inspections after the Sept. 10 explosion "discovered violations including unreported landslides, impacts to aquatic resources, construction activities occurring in unpermitted areas, and several sections of the pipeline that required the installation of additional measures to prevent accelerated erosion."

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a field order on Oct. 30 to ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC that requires the operator to immediately stabilize disturbed areas, repair erosion control features, and stop all other earth-moving activities associated with the Revolution Pipeline. The action stemmed from the Sept. 10, 2018, Revolution Pipeline explosion in Center Township, Beaver County. The Revolution Pipeline is not currently in operation.

DEP has been conducting an investigation for the past several weeks, has collected and subpoenaed documents, interviewed witnesses, and inspected the explosion site and the entire length of the pipeline. The agency reported that its inspections "discovered violations including unreported landslides, impacts to aquatic resources, construction activities occurring in unpermitted areas, and several sections of the pipeline that required the installation of additional measures to prevent accelerated erosion." The field order addresses those violations.

The order required ETC and/or its contractors to temporarily stabilize disturbed areas within four days, flag the boundaries of the permitted area and delineated wetlands, provide an updated erosion and sediment control plan, and provide an updated post-construction stormwater management plan supported by appropriate site characterization and assessment of soil and geology, including appropriate infiltration and geotechnical studies. The order prohibits additional construction and field work without DEP's approval; the agency's release said DEP may take additional enforcement actions, including possible civil penalties.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is the lead agency investigating the cause of the explosion.

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    January 2019

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