On Monday, an inadvertent return (IR) occurred at Marsh Creek Lake in Upper Uwchlan Township releasing 8,163 gallons of drilling mud, mostly made of water and a non-toxic bentonite at the lake site. Pipeline opponents want Pennsylvanians to believe that the water supply is contaminated with toxic chemicals harming the environment but this is simply not true.
Let’s stick to the facts. Drilling mud is a commonly used in Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) for the purpose of minimizing environmental impact. For that reason, the mixture is mostly water and must adhere to safe drinking standards. There are no toxic chemicals present. Bentonite, is not only harmless, but it is a common ingredient in things we use everyday including face creams, lipstick, and more.
And let’s be clear, no drinking water in the area has been impacted.
There is no immediate threat to anyone’s safety regardless of what anti-pipeline activists say. While IRs are never ideal, they do happen. In their permit with The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and through their agreement with some of the anti-pipeline groups Energy Transfer (ET) is required to report IRs to the DEP, respond to any IR and contain it to prevent adverse impacts. ET took accountability and has been working nonstop to clean the affected area concentrating on preventing spread and removing the mud quickly and efficiently.
Despite their cries, it’s good to see that the pipeline opponents are still able to enjoy the Marsh Creek State Park and paddle throughout the lake. The impact must not have been as bad as some have characterized.