Jacobs Creek Pipeline Project
Sunoco/Energy Transfer Poised to Replace and Relocate a Gasoline Pipeline under the Delaware River near Washington Crossing
An existing gasoline pipeline that goes under the Delaware River from Upper Makefield Township, PA to Hopewell Township, NJ is planning to use Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) to install a new pipeline across and under the Delaware River through a new, deeper HDD pathway into Hopewell Township, replacing exposed pipe in Jacobs Creek. Jacobs Creek is a tributary to the Delaware River and is located along the Hopewell and Ewing Township border in NJ. The new pipeline will connect to the existing Sunoco pipeline in Hopewell Township.
Sunoco Pipeline L.P. (SPLP) owns and operates a 14-inch welded steel high-pressure petroleum products pipeline (“Jacobs Creek Pipeline”) that transports product (gasoline) from Sunoco’s Twin Oaks Terminal in PA to their Newark Facility in NJ. The project area is located near the confluence of the Delaware River and Jacobs Creek where an exposed length of pipeline – length of 301 feet — within the Jacobs Creek bed is to be removed. This replaced section of pipeline will then be connected to approximately 2,500 feet of pipeline that will be installed underneath the Delaware River through the process of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). The HDD will continue on the New Jersey side of the river through a new pathway using easements on private properties: located at portions of the pathway within the 100-year floodplain; further from Jacobs Creek than the existing pipeline; and mostly still within the Creek’s 150 foot riparian stream buffer, as defined by Hopewell Township.
The proposed HDD will commence in Upper Makefield Township, near Washington Crossing PA and emerge in Hopewell Township NJ, and then travel to a proposed tie-in location with the existing pipeline on what is known as the Gristmill property to the east of the Delaware River. The HDD entry points both in PA and New Jersey will be using easements on private residential properties; the NJ properties are “greenfields” because the pipeline is not currently installed at those locations. The proposed HDD will pass under PA SR 32/River Road, the Delaware River, the Delaware and Raritan Canal and Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail, NJ SR 29/River Road, an historic rock and concrete culvert that supports Route 29 and the Canal, and will terminate where the HDD would tie in with a new length of pipeline in the Jacobs Creek buffer. The new length of pipeline will tie in with the existing pipeline at a point to the east in Hopewell Township, moving away from Jacobs Creek. The project will traverse the Delaware and Raritan Canal Historic District and through the 18th Century Gristmill which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The new length of pipe will travel to a proposed tie-in to the existing pipeline, which travels on to Newark, NJ.
To remove the exposed pipe, “Jacobs Creek would be dammed off using sandbags or a port-a-dam to allow access into the stream and to the exposed pipe, which would be cut and capped at this location”, according to D and R Canal Commissions records. Records received from DRN’s file reviews to various agencies will be provided and updated on this web page.
The dangers posed by: inadvertent returns of drilling muds and fluids during HDD drilling and construction; pollution spills; stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation to the River, Canal, and Jacobs Creek; disturbance of fish, aquatic life, wildlife and protected species; removal of trees and native vegetation and the need to ensure successful remediation and replacement; damage to Jacobs Creek from the planned temporary obstruction; and accidents during the project are some of the concerns of DRN and the community. Given Sunoco Energy Transfer’s many problems with the poorly executed installation of the Mariner East pipeline installation in PA, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network considers careful monitoring during its construction to be of great importance.