Some Monroe County residents say that they were assured the environmental impact of the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction would be limited. However, muddy runoff after heavy rain this week is concerning some residents.
"The sediment came through and it was just gushing into my pond," said local Greenville resident Donald Earley. Earley’s residence was about a quarter mile downstream of the construction. Earley keeps the pond stocked with fish, and was concerned what the sediment may do to this fishes’ health.
An estimated 2-3 inches of rain fell over this area of Monroe County over the last 7 days. Residents told us that while the rain was heavy, thunderstorms are common in the summer, and there was nothing unusual about the downpours. In some cases, photos show sediment-rich water flowing downstream from Mountain Valley Pipeline construction zones into relatively clear streams originating from other sources.
Measures have been put in place to limit silt and sediment contamination. Mesh barriers, known as silt fences, act to restrict runoff and hold it until sediment is able to settle down before being absorbed into the local water table. Multiple residents have witness runoff undercutting the silt fences, or in some cases blowing out the fences in total, leaking sediment-filled water into streams and rivers.
Muddy streams and rivers can choke off plant life and disrupt the food chain in otherwise pristine wooded areas. In some cases, the mud and sediment has been so fine it has been found in ground wells of some residents. Mountain Valley Watch member Maury Johnson was concerned about the impact the muddy water could have to Monroe County. "The environmental destruction is going to really depreciate Monroe County" Johnson told WVVA.
In a statement, Mountain Valley Pipeline told WVVA:
Since the onset of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, one of our primary objectives has been to design a route with the least overall impact to landowners and communities, and to preserve and protect sensitive species, streams and wetlands, and historical resources. In doing so, MVP has worked closely with state and federal environmental agencies to provide accurate, comprehensive information that would allow for a thorough environmental review and approval of the project. The plans for this important infrastructure line were subject to an exhaustive review for more than three years – and the MVP project has satisfied every requirement and has been authorized for construction by federal and state agencies.
The MVP project team is committed to doing this the right way, and the safety of our workers and communities along the route remains our top priority.