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Weather delays restoration of Upper Makefield pipeline worksite


Work on a fuel-transporting pipeline project in Upper Makefield was supposed to wrap up by July.

Then, the weather intervened.

Heavy rain and wind storms have delayed site restoration work related to the Sunoco Pipeline Project, according to Joseph Massaro, a representative for Energy Transfer, a midstream energy company that has conducted construction on the line.

“The weather set us back two to three weeks,” Massaro told the Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors at a public meeting on Aug. 15.

Major work on the pipeline improvement project has been completed, but Energy Transfer was obligated to undertake various restoration initiatives following expected disruption from construction activities.

Progress has certainly been made, with sod-laying being completed, rock being removed, topsoil grading, and an irrigation system installed on a landowner’s property as required.

Still, as of the Aug. 15 supervisors meeting, there remained issues to address, including completing the paving of Oakdale Avenue, power-washing some homes and planting trees.

“There’s three or four punch-list items left that we expect to get done in the next couple weeks before we are fully out of there,” said Massaro on Aug. 15.

Some concerns were raised regarding possible soil compaction contributing to pooling in times of rain. That can lead to flooding and other issues. Massaro responded to the concerns, in part, by explaining that such pooling occurred prior to sod being laid and that there are not issues now.

The reason for the project was to replace part of an existing pipeline that’s capable of carrying 4,200 gallons of fuel per hour. The line runs through part of Upper Makefield and beneath the Delaware River into New Jersey.

Project officials have said that the old pipeline dated to the 1950s and was in need of replacing.

The new pipe is about 14 inches in diameter. Fuel running through it could include gas, jet fuel, diesel, and home heating oil. The testimony at public hearings on the project indicated that the line, which terminates in Newark, N.J., would often carry jet fuel. Newark is home to a large airport.

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