Tuesday, April 25, 2017

School evacuation plans demanded near pipe 'blast zone'

           Pipes wait to be installed on the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Washington County  Photo: Clem Murray

Kathy Boccella reports for The Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, which continues to add members in Delaware and Chester Counties, through which Mariner 2 will soon pass, formed in August after parents learned the pipeline would come within 650 feet of Rose Tree Media’s Glenwood Elementary, attended by 430 children.

The group tried to stop Middletown Township from granting easements near the school, but lost. Since then, it has pressed Rose Tree Media and the West Chester Area School District for answers about student safety, while sounding the alarm at other schools along the route.
'Blast zone'

According to risk assessments commissioned by the coalition, a vapor-cloud leak can spread 1,800 feet in three mintues, and ignition of the gas can produce a fireball with a blast radius up to 1,100 feet that would burn until the pipeline is fully purged.

As many as 40 Pennsylvania schools would be in the potential "blast zone" if the line were to explode near them. Thousands of houses and facilities such as nursing homes also adjoin the route, but coalition founder Eve Miari said that worries about the schools have trumped other issues.

“An elementary school is sort of like the heart center of the community," she said. "It’s where we send our babies."

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