EXCLUSIVE: Family Believes Mariner East Pipeline Construction Led To Water Being Contaminated With Chemicals Found In Jet Fuel

EDGMONT TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — What’s in the water? That’s what a Delaware County family wants to know after a problem turned their daughter’s bath water brown.

An Edgmont Township homeowner says she fears their water system has been contaminated by disturbances from construction of the Mariner East Pipeline. Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with the family on Monday.

This photo captures what Erica Tarr says has been a nightmare. It shows her 2-year-old daughter in what she quickly realized was a bathtub full of dirty water.

Credit: CBS3

“One day the water turned brown-orange-tinged while she was in the tub,” Tarr said.

Not only was the tap water alarming, it wasn’t supposed to be happening again for this Glen Mills family.

Tarr, a pediatric nurse, says she posted the photo on Facebook in a moment of anger and frustration. They had been living with contaminated water, according to tests, for months.

“It worsened, really bad to the point that it smelled and tasted like gasoline. Some days it smelled like nail polish,” she said.

Tens of thousands of dollars later, a complex filtration system was installed. A second well was even drilled.

Even with all the equipment and remedies, the water in the bathtub suddenly looked discolored again.

It wasn’t long before that well showed serious signs of contamination, including volatile compounds found in petroleum products, like jet fuel.

Credit: CBS3

“All of this equipment was supposed to treat our now dirty water, that we had now been living with for a couple of months,” Tarr said.

Nearly out of options, Tarr says her well company posed a question.

“The owner of the company called me and he said, ‘I’m sorry, Erica. I’ve never smelled something like that,’ and his next question was, ‘How far are you from the pipeline?’” Tarr said.

Sunoco firm Energy Partners is working on the Mariner East Two Pipeline, 900 feet behind their home.

With the timing of her well’s contamination, Tarr believes pipeline drilling may have disturbed an area where Edgmont Township documents show thousands of gallons of jet fuel spilled on an adjacent property in the 90s.

Attorney Maria Janoski represents the Tarr family.

“They have toiletry bags packed to go to friends and family to do basic things like shower,” Janoski said. “It’s very much like they have an intruder in the house. Every time they turn on that faucet they don’t know what they’re getting or what that level of danger is.”

Sunoco responded to the story Monday night.

“We have been working with this landowner since this summer,” Sunoco said in a statement. “The results of testing done by a professional geologist have concluded that our construction activities did not impact this landowner’s well. These results have been shared with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. We will continue to work with Ms. Tarr and her attorney to address any further questions she has. It is important to note that at the time of Ms. Tarr’s Facebook posts, we had no work activity in the area for nearly two weeks. As we do anytime there is a complaint, we investigate and respond in a timely manner.”

Eyewitness News did not hear back from Edgmont Township officials.