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


Construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline has faced myriad problems, including damaged water supplies and sinkholes in a residential neighborhood in Chester County.
Updated: December 11, 2018 | 4:11 pm

Judge denies emergency petition for Mariner East shutdown

Suit brought by seven residents fails on all four requirements
By Jon Hurdle

A yard sign opposing the planned PennEast pipeline. New Jersey officials said they need much more information before making a decision on permits.

Judge grants first eminent domain case to PennEast in Pennsylvania

Company says ruling will allow it complete surveys; N.J. landowners await ruling from another judge
By Jon Hurdle

In this photo from May 2018, pipeline workers probe the ground on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township where sinkholes have developed as a result of the Mariner East 2 construction.

Delaware County study: Pipeline blast could be devastating, but risk is low

An independent consultant’s risk assessment said someone would be more likely to die from falling down stairs than in a pipeline explosion. Yet a leak would be more likely to ignite in a densely populated area because there are more ignition sources.

By Jon Hurdle

An aerial view of Mariner East 2 pipeline construction, adjacent to the Fairview Golf Course in Lebanon County August 24, 2018.

Mariner East pipelines: Judge reviews request for immediate shutdown

An administrative law judge for the state Public Utility Commission heard a second day of testimony Friday on whether to continue to allow operation of the controversial Mariner East pipelines while she reviews a request that the lines be permanently shut down. Several residents say Sunoco’s public awareness plan in the event of a leak is inadequate.

By Marie Cusick

Energy Transfer Partners, 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.

Residents urge PUC to halt Mariner East operation, hold hearing on emergency plans

Petition says Sunoco has not done enough to prepare communities for any leak of natural gas liquids
By Jon Hurdle

An environmental cleanup crew works to remove fuel from a spill in Darby Creek in Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania, near the Philadelphia International Airport. Sunoco plans to use this same line to ship natural gas liquids until construction along the Mariner East 2 is completed.

ME2 12-inch pipe passed safety inspections, PUC tells school superintendents

The line, built in the 1930s and upgraded in 2016, is among three that Sunoco plans to use as a substitute for Mariner East 2 while construction on that project is finished. Three school superintendents had asked PUC to help assess the line’s safety.

By Jon Hurdle

People carry a cooler while strolling at the boardwalk on their way to a beach spot at the New Jersey shore, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Seaside Heights, N.J.

Homeowners down the shore stand to lose millions from sea level rise

Knowledge of sea level rise has not stopped building in vulnerable areas along the New Jersey and Delaware coasts
By Susan Phillips

Mariner East 2 pipeline construction along Zinns Mill Road in Lebanon County August 24, 2018.
Updated: November 8, 2018 | 4:36 pm

Sunoco expects hybrid Mariner East 2 to start operating by year’s end

The company has joined three different lines to create a cross-state route for natural gas liquids. It says it will be able to fulfill customer orders.

By Jon Hurdle

Denise McCarthy told a Department of Environmental Protection hearing that the Mariner East pipelines would endanger her grand nephew, Jack, whose picture she held up as she spoke. DEP held the public meeting in May to hear comment on Sunoco's proposed permit modifications in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.

Full Mariner East pipeline risk assessment report released

Quest Consultants studied 'hundreds of unique potential hazardous material release scenarios'
By Scott Blanchard

Mariner East 2 pipeline construction crews work in the backyards of homes on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, on May 2. Sinkholes that opened in the area prompted the state's Public Utility Commission to order that an existing pipeline nearby, the Mariner East 1, be shut down until it could be determined that the sinkholes didn't threaten its safety. PUC on May 3 approved a re-start of Mariner East 1.
Updated: October 23, 2018 | 5:21 pm

Sunoco: Mariner East 2 delayed to 2020, so company will join three pipes as substitute

The cross-state natural gas liquids pipeline Mariner East 2 was supposed to begin operation by the end of September. Now, the company has come up with a workaround after acknowledging another lengthy delay in its pipeline project.

By Jon Hurdle
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