Proposed Lancaster County pipeline now expected in Rapho Township after route change

A group of people who were upset about a pipeline coming through their backyards are getting some good news. But, that also means a new group of neighbors in Lancaster County could find the pipeline outside their homes instead.

The Pipeline is part of the Atlantic Sunrise Project, which will help transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region to the Eastern Seaboard. The company, Williams Partners, is now planning a route change.

New route
The pipeline will shift out of the Mount Joy area in order to avoid the Water Well Protection Zone. “The planned route for the pipeline has been shifted to the east somewhat, which will take it through numerous parcels in Rapho Township that previously were not intended to be included,” said Sara Gibson, Township Manager with Rapho Township. Township Management met with the company, Williams Partners, yesterday and found out the news.

Most of the newly affected property owners have not been notified of the changed route yet. Gibson said they should sit tight, as she expects the company to notify anyone affected very shortly.

“This is not our project, but what we have been told is that they work hard with property owners to ensure that where they ultimately put the line does not interfere with their own water supplies or other environmental issues,” said Gibson.

Taking in the news
While her home was not at first in the projected path, Jennifer Hepner had concerns about a natural gas pipeline going through Lancaster County. “This is what we are known for. This is Lancaster County. Do we want to destroy our farms?” said Jennifer Hepner, who has lived in her Rapho Township home for more than 15 years.

Now she is taking in the news that it could end up in her backyard after all. She is concerned the pipeline will end up in an area prone to sinkholes. “Local stores along Route 230 have sinkholes, it’s a continuous issue. Do you really want to put a pipeline on top of land that has sinkhole problems?” said Hepner. “I just found out today. I would like to know a little bit more about what the proposal is and what is going on. I realize this is a new thing but we need to get the residents involved.  It needs to be safe for the people who live here, it needs to be safe for the land and the environment.”

The project is still in the planning phase and this hasn’t been the first route change. It may also not be the last. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has to approve the final project route.