A Tale of Two Explosions

A recent and tragic explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin last week has left Chester County residents wondering what an explosion here in Exton would look like.
Sun Prairie, WI Explosion:
Photo Credit: WKOW
On July 11th, 2018, contractors struck a 4-inch gas main. The blast caused burning debris to rain down on downtown Sun Prairie, set vehicles parked nearby on fire and sent up a cloud of smoke that could be seen for miles.
WE Energies dispatched crews to the scene after learning of the gas leak at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The explosion occurred shortly afterward. It took about two hours before workers were able to get close enough to the scene of the blast to shut off gas lines to the area.
A firefighter was killed, at least a dozen other people were injured and at least two buildings were leveled.
Follansbee, WV Explosion:
Photo Credit: Daily Kos
On Janusary 26, 2015, an accident occurred on the Enterprise Products ATEX-1 20-inch pipeline resulting in the release of approximately 30,565 barrels of liquid ethane in a rural, wooded, non-
high consequence area (HCA) area near Follansbee, West Virginia.
There were no injuries, deaths, or extensive property damage associated with this accident; however, fire from the rupture burned approximately 5 acres of woodlands and damaged the siding on one home located approximately 2,000 feet from the failure location.
This pipeline was new and began operation in November 2013, only 14 months before the explosion.
Exton, PA Pipelines:
Mariner East 1 is an 80yr old 8-inch pipeline.
Mariner East 2 is an under construction 20-inch pipeline.
Mariner East 2x is an under construction 16-inch pipeline.
Sunoco’s Point Breeze to Montello is an 80yr old 12-inch pipeline.
All 4 pipelines are proposed to carry highly explosive, highly pressurized Natural Gas Liquids (ethane, propane and butane) through densely populated Chester County, including the heart of Exton. We are considered a High Consequence Area (HCA), unlike Follansbee. Schools, nursing homes, daycares, residences, malls, and libraries all well within 2000 feet, some less than 50 feet.
So picture the Follansbee, WV pipeline explosion in Sun Prairie, WI and that is the catastrophe that will be Exton in the event of a leak. Sunoco is the leakiest pipeline operator in the industry, averaging a leak every 11 days.
In Follansbee, the explosion happened at 10:30am. Firefighters were placed on STANDY at 4:30pm. “Follansbee Fire Chief Larry Rea said the fire is contained, but all crews can do is standby until the fire burns itself out.” The Fire was still burning the next day at 2:45pm, well over 24 hours later.
Here is another good article explaining the connection, thanks to the DragonPipe Diary.
What can you do to help prevent this tragedy from coming to Exton?
Please contact any and all officials, including local senators and representives, Gov Wolf, and the PUC.

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