West Goshen Risk Assessment Breakdown PT. 2

Following yesterday’s blog  discussing the outstanding safety and quality of the 12 inch supplemental line temporarily being used to transport natural gas liquids through West Goshen Township focus will be turned to the emergency preparedness Sunoco has committed to in West Goshen and throughout the Mariner East pipeline project.

For those that missed part one, Richard Kuprewicz, President of Accufacts, found that “Sunoco meets and exceeds the requirements of federal pipeline safety regulations. These additional precautions reflect the level of respect that transporting such materials in a HCA should require in a prudent pipeline operation. Accufacts thus concludes that the 12-inch Repurpose Project spanning WGT meets or exceeds the prudent technical approaches commensurate with the safe transportation of HVL.” After reviewing information provided by Sunoco.

Regulatory Oversight:

Pipeline operators and builders are subject to strict regulation. Federal and state entities oversee the construction and operation.

At the federal level the Department of Transportation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA, a subsection of the Department of Transportation dedicated to pipelines). These agencies ensure interstate pipelines meet all national standards that they themselves set.

As determined by the Pennsylvania legislature, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is responsible for directing and enforcing safety standards for “pipeline facilities and to regulate safety practices of certificated utilities engaged in the transportation of natural gas and other gas by pipeline.”

The combination of federal and state oversight creates a network of pipeline experts that work together to ensure pipeline companies are held to and encouraged to surpass the highest standard of safety.

Compliance in West Goshen:

After review Kuprewicz found that Sunoco prepared the 12 inch supplemental line in complete compliance with federal and state regulations. This includes installing automatic valve shuts offs, as well as remote and manual capabilities.

Kuprewicz continued, offered: “Since it had been some time since I had reviewed this system, this was discussed in detail with Sunoco as it relates to the 12inch project.  It is my opinion that Sunoco has provided prudent design and installation of safety equipment to assure timely and automatic system shutdown.  The control room operator can also manually initiate an automatic shutdown of the pipeline system at any time.

It is obvious that Sunoco has incorporated layers of protection into their pipeline systems, especially the Mariner East project. The supplemental line benefits from mechanical capabilities as well as human monitoring and input in the unlikely case it be needed.

Like the official Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2 pipelines the West Goshen supplemental line makes use of the same computer monitoring system that continuously checks for leaks. For maximum safety “The computer system when triggered can automatically and quickly shut down pumps and close mainline isolation valves.  As in the previous Mariner East projects, an independent non-automatic additional leak detection system will be employed across the 12-inch pipeline intended to assist control room personnel in identifying possible lower rate pipeline releases, who then can intervene to initiate pipeline shutdown and isolation.


Though the Accufacts study focuses on the supplemental line in West Gosh Township the safety measured shared with what will be a temporary line in the Mariner East pipeline system shows the diligence and attention to detail Sunoco has committed to throughout the project to maximize public safety. This fact should not be overlooked.