Sunoco has purchased two Chester County homes on a street that has been plagued for more than a year by sinkholes and construction mishaps related to the the controversial Mariner East pipeline project.

The energy giant bought the houses this month for $400,000 each, property records show.

Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline under construction in Chester County.
CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline under construction in Chester County.

For more than a year, residents of the cul-de-sac have seen their backyards ripped up and sinkholes appear as Sunoco works on its $5.1 billion project. When it’s completed next year, three adjacent pipelines will transport up to 675,000 barrels a day of Marcellus Shale gas liquids across the state to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex.

In March 2018, sinkholes on Lisa Drive exposed Mariner East 1′s bare steel and prompted a two-month shutdown of the existing pipeline. At the time, Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco’s parent company, temporarily relocated five families whose backyards were damaged.

One of the sinkholes that developed in March 2018 in a backyard on Lisa Drive in Exton.
Photo courtesy of T.J. Allen
One of the sinkholes that developed in March 2018 in a backyard on Lisa Drive in Exton.

The 88-year-old pipeline, which used to funnel gasoline, was shut down again this winter after a 5-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep sinkhole emerged along Lisa Drive. It resumed service last week.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the district attorneys in Delaware County and Chester County have launched criminal investigations into Sunoco’s conduct throughout the project’s construction.

Chester County has also sued Sunoco and, along with Delaware County, intervened in an existing legal challenge brought by a group of suburban residents. Anti-pipeline activists say they worry about the environmental and safety risks that come with moving volatile liquids through densely populated suburbs full of schools, neighborhoods, and nursing homes.

It was not immediately clear what the company planned to do with the Lisa Drive homes it purchased in April. A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Neither could an attorney for the former homeowners, who NPR reports have signed nondisclosure agreements.