The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) has released a report for landowners and water providers concerned about the potential impacts of pipeline development on water supplies.
The report, “Guidance for Monitoring Effects of Gas Pipeline Development on Surface Water and Groundwater Supplies,” was prepared by Downstream Strategies, a West Virginia-based environmental consulting firm. Funding for the report was provided by Friends of Nelson, ABRA member groups and individual contributors.
Although the developers of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) indicate that they will monitor the quality and quantity of water supply springs and wells, the information they have provided about monitoring plans and acceptance of responsibility for water supply damage is incomplete.
The new report provides information concerning:
- Risks, potential impacts, and other water supply issues related to pipeline development;
- Collection of the data that will be needed to hold pipeline developers responsible for harm to water supplies;
- Methods for establishing baseline information on water quantity and quality and for long-term monitoring to detect change; and
- Laboratories and consultants that can conduct monitoring and analysis.
For landowners, the guide describes a tiered approach to water supply monitoring that incorporates collection of defensible data by water resource professionals and landowner collection of screening or early-detection data.
For water providers, a primary benefit of the guide is to document likely contaminants and the potential impacts to source water from pipeline development that may affect their treatment processes or finished (post-treatment) drinking water distributed to customers.
“The report complements other Friends of Nelson initiatives to protect Nelson County water quality, including our Stream Monitoring Program which is now in full swing,” said Deirdre Skogen, Friends of Nelson Outreach Coordinator.
Teams of Certified Volunteer Water Monitors have started water quality testing at ten locations in Nelson County where the proposed ACP would cross streams or creeks. The water testing locations cover the breadth of the proposed ACP route through Nelson County.
“From the steep rocky slopes on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains down to the Rockfish River Valley, through unspoiled and mountainous Wheelers Cove, to the meandering Mayo Creek through historical Wingina at the James River, we will have baseline data on record to compare with ongoing stream monitoring results, should ACP construction begin,” said Anne Buteau, Friends of Nelson Water Monitoring Coordinator.
Although some of the information in the report is specific to the MVP and ACP pipelines, the guidelines for monitoring water resources are applicable to any landowners and water providers who may be impacted by pipeline or other infrastructure development.
ABRA is a coalition of 50 organizations, including Friends of Nelson, concerned about the natural gas pipeline that Dominion Resources and its partner companies have proposed to build through portions of West Virginia and Virginia.
Other organizational contributors to the water supply monitoring guidance project include: Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Highlanders for Responsible Development, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and West Virginia Rivers Coalition.