Construction work on the controversial Mariner East pipeline was shut down after an estimated 10,000 gallons of drilling fluid spilled into local waterways and wetlands, according to reports. Drone and helicopter footage from local activists and news outlets show a plume of the drilling fluid spreading across nearby Marsh Creek Lake. “As I was going in [in a paddle boat], it was getting murkier and murkier, and then it looked milky,” Ginny Kerslake, of the local group Del-Chesco United for Public Safety, told WHYY. The drilling fluid typically consists of nontoxic bentonite clay and water, but local environmental groups are concerned it could contain other chemicals as well. The pipeline construction has been cited for about 100 environmental violations since construction began in 2017. Energy Transfer, now owned by Sunoco, confirmed the spill was caused by an “inadvertent return.”

Under a consent decree it agreed to at the beginning of construction, the construction on the Mariner East pipeline will be shut down until the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approves an application to restart work. “Sunoco will keep on spilling and keep on polluting our water supplies until they shut down, and DEP has the power to do that,” Alex Bomstein, an attorney with the Clean Air Council, told WHYY. “There comes a point where you don’t give second and third and fourth chances.” (WHYY, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3CBS Philly, Daily Local News)