CENTER TWP. — The natural gas pipeline that exploded in Beaver County two years ago is again under construction in Center Township.
Environmental regulators last week gave Revolution Pipeline owners Energy Transfer Corp. the green light to build near the end of Ivy Lane.
Part of the 24-inch line will be rerouted along level ground near the original explosion site. Company representatives alerted residents, the Central Valley School District and local police and fire departments of plans to clear trees and complete the project in roughly two months.
The 40-mile gathering line travels across Butler, Beaver and Washington counties to feed natural gas liquids from western Pennsylvania into the company’s larger statewide lines. It enters Beaver County in New Sewickley Township then travels to Conway, under the Conway Rail Yard and the Ohio River, into Center Township, and then down through Raccoon and Independence townships.
“It is important to note that our 24-inch pipeline that traverses the area is not active,” Energy Transfer public affairs Chris Koop told community members in a letter last week. “During this time, you may notice truck traffic entering and exiting the right-of-way from Brodhead Road in the area across from the bowling alley during normal daylight working hours.”
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection fined Energy Transfer $30.6 million in civil penalties earlier this year for violations related to 2018′s Center Township explosion, effectively authorizing the company to resume construction.
On Sept. 10, 2018, just one week after it became active in Beaver County, the line burst into flames in a valley near Ivy Lane following heavy rainfall and a subsequent landslide. The blast torched multiple acres of forested areas, destroyed a single-family home, forced the evacuation of nearby residents and caused six high-voltage electric transmission towers to collapse.
In addition to fines, the company bought out two homeowners affected by the fire.
An investigation found ETC Northeast Pipeline, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer, had not stabilized a number of areas along the pipeline to prevent landslides and failed to properly address stormwater runoff.
Since January, the company was issued hundreds of new violations along the Beaver County route. Inspectors noted dozens of clean water permit violations such as failed erosion and sedimentation barriers and sediment-filled water leaking into nearby waterways.
Rather than rebuilding on the hill that slid two years ago, Energy Transfer will build on flatter ground. The company’s plans to stabilize that hillside were approved last week, too, according to DEP.
It’s unclear when the pipeline would be activated — one gas company that would feed into the line, EdgeMarc Energy, filed bankruptcy after the explosion. The other, PennEnergy Resources, is tied up in a related lawsuit against Energy Transfer, with a trial slated for next year.
The company continues to face a number of other investigations stemming from the blast, and Energy Transfer has been hit with millions more in DEP fines related to the controversial Mariner East pipeline, which stretches hundreds of miles across southern Pennsylvania.
Company representatives did not respond to request for comment by press time, but Energy Transfer has established a community hotline staffed 24/7 for Beaver County residents with questions during the Revolution construction period at 855-430-4491.
Read More: Revolution Pipeline construction begins