Sunoco fine to fund streambank work in Washington County

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

A multimillion dollar civil penalty the state levied on Sunoco for violations on a pipeline construction project will fund the restoration of two streams in Washington County, and correct problems on another in Rostraver Township.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was awarded a $99,800 grant from the $12.6-million fine to stabilize 1,700 feet of Little Chartiers Creek in North Strabane Township. The conservancy also was awarded $298,000 to stabilize an unnamed stream along Beagle Club Road in Nottingham Township, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday.

“One thing that all of these projects have in common is that they will improve Pennsylvania’s water – whether that is through reducing runoff pollution, restoring watersheds or other means,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell stated in a news release.

In the Mon Valley, Rostraver Township was awarded $327,000 to reduce runoff pollution that has been impairing Cedar Creek and Pollock Run, the DEP said.

The DEP halted construction of the pipeline in early January, telling Sunoco to prevent spills of bentonite, a drilling mud, that had been taking place for about a year at various locations.

The pipeline crosses through Washington County and the entire state to ship Marcellus shale-related products labeled as oil to the Eastern Seaboard.

Sunoco denied the allegations, but agreed to pay the penalty rather than litigate the case. The DEP allowed the company to resume construction of the pipeline in early February.

The DEP issued the penalty in February and began accepting grant applications from the fund two months later.

The DEP selected 61 projects to receive money in 14 counties.