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Wolf Administration Responds to Pipeline Spill at Marsh Creek State Park
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Wolf Administration Responds to Pipeline Spill at Marsh Creek State Park

After the local spot for paddling suffered a spill on Monday, the state responds & SUP rentals stopped.

Energy Transfer (owner of Sunoco) has spilled at least 10,000 gallons of industrial waste, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) fluid into Marsh Creek Lake. The spill happened Sunoco’s drilling during the construction of the Mariner East pipeline, according to a press release from the Clean Air Council.

A drone video captured the spill:

Drilling fluid (aka “drilling mud”) contains clay and chemical additives and can impact aquatic life.

Marsh Creek Lake is a habitat for aquatic life and is a drinking water source, prompting responses from locals and officials. Activists have protested the spill, including hosting a community townhall last night through zoom. State representative Danielle Friel-Otten visited the site.

Today, the Wolf Administration responded to the spill, saying that Energy Transfer will be held legally responsible and drilling at the site has been stopped until further notice.

More specifically:

  • Buoys on the lake will delineate the 33 (of 535 acres) affected and off-limits to boating and fishing.
  • Aquatic specialists will gauge the impact on water quality and aquatic life
  • DEP, along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), continue to investigate and oversee the cleanup of the inadvertent return into Marsh Creek
  • DEP anticipates that there will be civil penalties and potentially other regulatory ramifications.

“Since the spill occurred on Monday, clean-up crews have made significant progress in collecting and containing spilled material. DEP aquatic biologists have been onsite since the beginning of the incident to assess the spill and ensure that cleanup activities are conducted properly,” according to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. 

Marsh Creek State Park is a local favorite for water sports including stand up paddle-boarding (SUP), kayaking, and swimming. Although the popularity has exploded during the pandemic, prompting parking closures, activity has been interrupted due to the spill.

“Drawing more than 1 million visitors a year, Marsh Creek is among our most visited park, and water-based activities are the catalyst for that draw, according to DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.

“The popularity of paddle-boarding alone is phenomenal at Marsh Creek Lake, and anglers and other boaters can be found daily on the lake. Containment, water testing, and remediation are underway, and access to affected water and shoreline will be restricted,” said Adams Dunn.


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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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