EXPLAINER | Delaware Watershed
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Delaware Watershed

The crew on the Drillboat Apache brings in lines tied to explosives used to break up rocks at the bottom of the Delaware River near Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. It’s one of the final stages of a controversial project to deepen the river’s shipping channel.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

The crew on the Drillboat Apache brings in lines tied to explosives used to break up rocks at the bottom of the Delaware River near Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. It’s one of the final stages of a controversial project to deepen the river’s shipping channel.

StateImpact Pennsylvania, Newsworks.org, WHYY and NJ Spotlight are collaborating on a series of stories about the Delaware River Watershed.

The watershed stretches from upstate New York through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, emptying out in the Delaware Bay. It supplies water to more than 15 million people, or about 5% of the nation’s population. Its natural lands both protect clean water and provide a habitat of regional and hemispheric importance.

The story of the river includes stories of its people and wildlife that depend on it for survival; the threats to continued sources of clean water; and the river as an economic engine.

The project is funded by The William Penn Foundation. Below are contributions from StateImpact Pennsylvania.

Latest stories


Sunoco's Mariner East 2 pipeline construction on Pennell Road in Middletown Township. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Higher operating pressure prompts new safety concerns over Sunoco’s Mariner East 2X pipeline

Documents indicate Sunoco has a new maximum operating pressure for the line, which is under construction. An engineer who conducted a risk assessment of the Mariner East project said a higher pressure increases risk.

By Susan Phillips

Tree-clearing in Delaware County to prepare for the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. The builder, Sunoco Logistics, rejected an attempt by a township in neighboring Chester County to block the installation of a valve along the line.

State attorney general, Delaware County district attorney launch criminal investigation into Sunoco, Energy Transfer

Chester County’s district attorney is already investigating the Mariner East pipeline project. The company said it will “aggressively” defend itself.

By Susan Phillips

Amanda Vendetti of Tullytown and other Lower Bucks County residents line up to ask questions of DEP officials about a toxic waste recycling and storage facility proposed for Falls Township, Pa.

Crews worked on Monday Jan. 21 to stabilize a new sinkhole that opened up at Lisa Drive, a suburban development in West Whiteland Township, Chester County where Sunoco operates its Mariner East pipelines.

Chester County investigation of pipeline builder Energy Transfer now includes grand jury

District attorney's probe of Mariner East project began in December
By Susan Phillips

Workers installing the Mariner East 2 pipeline August 22, 2018 in Lebanon County. Energy Transfer Partners, parent company of Sunoco Logistics, had told investors that the line would be operational by the end of September. But regulatory issues have held it up.

Mariner East 2 construction to restart in area of Chester County where water damage occurred

Drilling for the pipeline along Shoen Road in West Whiteland Township destroyed private drinking water wells nearby
By Susan Phillips

Energy Transfer, the parent company of Mariner East 2 pipeline builder, Sunoco, works at Snitz Creek in West Cornwall Township, Lebanon County after a drilling mud spill during the summer.

Energy Transfer CEO: ‘We’ve made mistakes’ in building Mariner East

The company vowed not to make those mistakes again. But critics of the project in southeastern Pennsylvania said it’s too late for the people who are living near the pipelines.

By Jon Hurdle

A new sinkhole that opened up on Sunday was surrounded by orange plastic fencing outside a suburban home at Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.

Drilling on shaky ground: Why Chester County’s DA is investigating the Mariner East pipeline project

StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Susan Phillips discusses the Mariner East project’s problems, and how a pipeline explosion in western Pennsylvania led District Attorney Tom Hogan to take a hard look at a pipeline in his own backyard.

By Staff

In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo shown on the former grounds of Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster is the Ann's Choice Retirement Community and the Warminster Community Park in Warminster, Pa. In Warminster and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Updated: February 15, 2019 | 4:43 pm

Pa. to begin its own process of setting health limit for two PFAS chemicals

As EPA launches national PFAS plan, Pennsylvania says its people ‘can’t wait’ for federal government
By Jon Hurdle and Susan Phillips

The Horsham Air Guard Station in Bucks County, Pa. where the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam has been linked with contamination of local water supplies.
Updated: February 14, 2019 | 4:02 pm

EPA says it will start process to regulate PFOA and PFOS this year

Critics say long-awaited Action Plan on PFAS represents the latest delay in protecting public health
By Jon Hurdle and Susan Phillips

The site of the Revolution Pipeline explosion that occurred in September 2018.
Updated: February 8, 2019 | 4:13 pm

PA DEP halts new pipeline permits for Mariner East, cites ongoing violations with Revolution pipeline

The DEP says Energy Transfer, which is the parent company of Sunoco, failed to fix problems after an explosion rocked Beaver County in September.

By Susan Phillips
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