Pipeline Safety Investigation Under Way Involving Subsidence Incidents in West Whiteland Township, Chester County

HARRISBURG – In response to reports of several earth subsidences or “sinkholes” near pipelines in Southeastern Pennsylvania, an investigation is under way involving engineers and experts from the Safety Division of the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) - the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).


I&E has been, and continues to, closely monitor a string of events near the 400 block of East Lincoln Highway and Route 30/Lincoln Highway, in West Whiteland Township, Chester County. These events occurred near construction being conducted by Sunoco Pipeline LP (Sunoco).


No active pipelines were exposed as a result of the subsidences and engineers from the Safety Division continue to closely monitor the situation.


Safety Division engineers have been onsite gathering information for their investigation and monitoring the integrity of pipelines in the area. I&E has also been in communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and West Whiteland Township.


The first subsidence occurred on July 10, with additional events developing over the next several days. Most recently, mid-afternoon today (July 17), growing cracks were reported in the pavement on business Route 30 near the first reported sinkhole location, impacting some traffic on that roadway.


The subsidence locations have been stabilized with grout filling and Sunoco is performing ground-penetrating radar analysis three times per day on the roadway and nearby walking/bike path, along with geophysical testing along the pipeline right of way. Safety Division engineers and geotechnical experts will independently analyze all data collected by the company.   


Additionally, the company has committed to 24/7 monitoring of the right of way and road crossing area.


About the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement


I&E, as the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the PUC, enforces the state public utility code and PUC regulations – including regulations related to energy marketing and sales and consumer protection. I&E has the authority to bring enforcement action, seek emergency orders from the Commission or take other steps to ensure public safety.