Pennsylvania shuts down Sunoco pipeline over sinkholes

HARRISBURG, Pa. - State regulators are temporarily shutting down a major pipeline after sinkholes in Chester County exposed the 8-inch-diameter pipe, threatening nearby homes and a rail line.

The Public Utility Commission's chairwoman ordered an immediate shutdown Wednesday to Sunoco Pipeline's Mariner East 1 system, saying that its continued operation "could have catastrophic results."

The pipeline, which passes through Berks County, carries as many as 70,000 barrels of natural gas liquids every day to a company terminal in Marcus Hook, Delaware County.

The sinkholes affecting the pipeline developed within 50 feet of homes and near an Amtrak rail line in West Whiteland Township.

Sunoco will inspect the pipeline and test the ground. Shipments won't be able to resume until investigators sign off. That's expected to take 10 days or more.

The company's spokesman said it's working on a response.

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