Residents near Roanoke were alarmed after the streams and ponds became muddy from rainfall runoff along the route of the Mountain Valley pipeline, on which pre-construction has begun.
Following the danger, environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies, shows that pollution threatens drinking water from the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines imposing health risk among drinkers.
The report was prepared for the Natural Resources Defense Council, urging the council to appeal for further study of water threats by state agencies and the administration. It came after a previous Downstream Strategies report presenting the risks of pipelines to drinking water extracted from rivers and streams.
The report by Downstream Strategies shows that general permits issued by federal agencies are insufficient. General licenses given by agencies like Army Corps of Engineers is not enough, the report provides reasons for the Virginia Water Board and Department of Environmental Quality to require individual permits for water crossings, to fully know the threats of pipeline routes to drinking water.
Pipeline construction gives threats to groundwater in numerous ways, such as the methods of construction, topography changing, and designs for the pipelines, the report says. Petrochemicals spilling from construction or drilling can seep down into groundwater. Furthermore, methods of structures used in building pipelines give significant threats to drinking water sources.
Downstream Strategies also shows that baseline testing for both water quantity and quality for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines aren’t enough to protect drinking water.
Walton Shepherd, an energy and climate expert at NRDC, urges the Northam administration to improve their management by working with the Water Board to thoroughly assess the threats of pipelines to Virginia drinking water. “And if protection of drinking water can’t be assured, the Water Board needs to stop these risky and unnecessary projects, once and for all,” he concluded.