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Press Release

Pipeline Safety Investigation Underway Involving Sunoco Pipeline Located in Berks County

Published on 3/18/2019

Filed under: Gas

HARRISBURG – In response to reports of a possible pipeline leak in Berks County, a safety investigation is underway involving the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) – the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).

On Sunday, March 17, investigators from I&E’s Pipeline Safety Division responded to reports of a possible pipeline leak and strong gasoline odor near 409 Mountain Home Road in South Heidelberg Township, Berks County. The incident site is approximately 6 miles west of the City of Reading.

In addition to safety engineers from the Pipeline Safety Division, the initial report also resulted in response by local fire departments, municipal emergency management officials, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco Pipeline.

The pipeline – identified as Sunoco line No. 12001 – is a 14-inch steel line used to transport petroleum products from Sunoco’s Montello terminal, near Reading, to Northumberland and other points in northern Pennsylvania and New York state. During the early morning of March 17th, the pipeline was being used to transport gasoline.

As part of the initial response and investigation, test holes and a trench were excavated near the reported leak site by Sunoco crews, to identify the source of the strong gasoline odor. The investigation is ongoing, and the site continues to be monitored by the Pipeline Safety Division while further testing is conducted by Sunoco. Groundwater monitoring wells located around the incident site were also tested this weekend and continue to be monitored.

Reporting Pipeline Safety Incidents

The Pipeline Safety Division encourages residents and businesses located near pipelines to understand how to recognize and report unusual incidents involving those lines – including the sounds, smells and sights of possible leaks. 

Pipeline operators are required to regularly provide safety and awareness information to property owners along their routes, along with emergency contact information. If you suspect a leak, call 9-1-1 or local emergency responders and the pipeline operator from a safe location.

About the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement

As the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the PUC, I&E enforces state and federal pipeline safety and motor carrier safety laws and regulations and represents the public interest in ratemaking and service matters before the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge.  I&E has the authority to bring enforcement action, seek emergency orders from the Commission or take other steps to ensure public safety.

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