The great burial begins.
Some 37 miles of 42-inch pipe for the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline is being placed in the ground in eight western Lancaster County communities.
All local sections of the pipeline are expected to be underground by the end of July, according to Williams Partners, the Oklahoma-based company building the pipeline.
Currently, about 90 percent of the pipe sections have been put in place above ground and welded together in preparation for burial in trenches.
Hydrostatic testing will then be done by pumping high-pressure water drawn from nearby waterways. Most of that work will be done during the summer months.
Ground-restoration work may continue in the pipeline right of way into late summer or early fall before pipeline crews disappear, according to Christopher Stockton, Williams spokesman.
At its peak, nearly 700 workers were working on the pipeline in Lancaster County.
The construction right of way is up to 125 feet wide, while the permanent maintained right of way will be 50 feet.
After the pipeline is laid, the ground will be restored “as closely as possible to its original condition,” according to Stockton. Trees, however, will not be allowed to grow again in the right of way.
Stockton said that of the 2.3 million man-hours logged in building the pipeline in Lancaster County, there were no injuries resulting in lost work. “For a project this size, that is a significant accomplishment,” he said.
The Atlantic Sunrise project is a shortcut between points on the interstate Transco gas pipeline. It will run for 197 miles between the existing Transco line near Holtwood and a location in Susquehanna County.
Begun in October 2017, the pipeline passes through the townships of Drumore, Conestoga, Martic, Manor, West Hempfield, Mount Joy and Rapho townships, as well as a small portion of Mount Joy Borough.
The pipeline will carry natural gas from drilling wells in the Marcellus Shale region of northeast Pennsylvania to markets up and down the East Coast, as well as for transport overseas by ships.