Category Archives: Water Quality

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Critical Zone Mapping System

New from Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition!

The DPMC has published an interactive Critical Zone Mapping System (CZMS) in support of citizen efforts to overcome the continuing failure of the regulatory system.

The CZMS provides a framework for evaluation of the risk associated with construction of the ACP and the limitations of the proposed or available control measures. The CZMS includes user-selectable map layers that display a number of key factors that should be considered during project review and prior to project approval. Among these are layers that indicate slope steepness, soil erodibility, high-excavation areas, stream crossings, surficial karst, and existing dye traces in karst systems.

One of the more-critical map layers identifies those sections of the pipeline corridor and access road system that meet Dominion’s criteria for application of its so-called “Best in Class” program. These areas, where the existing ground slope is 30% or more for distances of 100 feet or more, present a high risk to downslope water resources due to erosion, slope destabilization, and runoff alteration.

Although Dominion has posted what it describes as detailed erosion and runoff control plans, the plans do not include “Best in Class” measures. With limited exceptions, the actual site-specific details for application of the “Best in Class” program have not been provided for regulatory agency and public review, and apparently they will not be provided until after project approval.

These high-risk “Best in Class” areas represent almost half the length of the proposed ACP pipeline corridor and access road system in the mountainous counties of Virginia and West Virginia.

Among the more-extreme of the “Best in Class” measures is the use of heavy steel wire mesh to hold steep mountainsides in place after pipeline construction. Click here for a larger version of this image.

For more information see: The ACP Critical Zone Mapping System

Pipeline Battle

An extensive article in Virginia Business reviews the three year battle over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It covers discussion over environmental impact, questions of pubic need, Dominion donations, water quality, Governor McAuliffe’s support of the ACP, and a variety of aspects of the casefor and against the ACP.

Read the full article here.

Will McAuliffe’s Administration Protect Virginia Waters Only “In Theory”?

The latest from Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC):

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has indicated that applications for water quality certification of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) could be denied “in theory.” We are calling on Governor Terry McAuliffe to take action now to ensure that DEQ’s enforcement of the law is more than theoretical; that the certain damages these proposals would cause to hundreds of our streams and wetlands be honestly acknowledged by DEQ and prevented.

In a letter to the Governor dated July 25, 2017, the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) described how the Governor’s top environmental officials have skewed the regulatory reviews of these major pipeline proposals. State records and public statements clearly show that DEQ has failed even to acknowledge its duty to deny water quality certifications for the ACP and MVP, despite the Clean Water Act’s mandate that DEQ do so.

Other states have faithfully fulfilled their Clean Water Act duties to reject proposals when pipeline builders failed to meet their burdens of proof and show that their projects could meet all water quality requirements. As DPMC’s letter asked the Governor: “Do Virginian’s deserve less protection than our fellow citizens? Will you accept DEQ’s proposals to forego its responsibilities where others have fully exercised their authorities to protect their citizens and environments?”

DEQ’s resistance to considering rejection of threats to water quality is not in line with actions it has taken on proposals by other parties. The Department has rejected permit applications for facilities such as wastewater discharges and held other construction projects to stringent stormwater control requirements. In stark contrast, the pipeline companies have gotten special deals. Certainly, other applicants for State approvals will be dismayed to know they’ve been treated differently than the politically-powerful sponsors of ACP and MVP.

For more information, see:

DEQ Posts Info on Erosion & Stormwater Plans for ACP and MVP

Plans for erosion and sediment control, as well as for stormwater management, for the ACP and MVP were made available this week on the website of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The posting on the DEQ website states:

“Virginia state law and regulations establish that land disturbance associated with pipeline construction activities must meet Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Management (SWM) requirements to protect surface water quality during and after construction completion. State law further mandates that natural gas pipeline utilities (and certain other utilities) meet the requirements for ESC and SWM under a DEQ approved Annual Standards and Specifications Program.

Under the required Annual Standards and Specifications Program utilities are not required to submit site specific ESC and SWM plans to DEQ for approval. However, as an additional measure to ensure protection of state waters DEQ has required the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) projects to submit their site specific ESC and SWM plans to DEQ for review and approval.

ACP and MVP site specific ESC and SWM plans will address every foot of land disturbance related to pipeline construction, including access roads and construction lay-down areas.”

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition points out that, “The DEQ has previously stated it will review those plans (stormwater management and erosion and sediment control plans) separately from its review under the Clean Water Act Section 401. As a result, the State Water Control Board’s decision whether to certify that construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will not harm state waters will not be informed by the essential details that the erosion and runoff control plans should provide. This is a concern that ABRA and many of its members have voiced to DEQ and the Water Control Board.”

Call Your State Representative: Tell DEQ to Protect Us

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is currently speeding through the review of plans to cross hundreds of Virginia water bodies with the massive fracked-gas Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. Under the Clean Water Act, the DEQ has the authority to determine whether or not the pipeline mitigation plans meet our Commonwealth’s water quality standards.

Eight Virginia state representatives have already spoken to the DEQ asking them to protect Virginians and our water. We need you to call now and:

  • If your representative is one of the eight, thank them for their support
  • If your representative is NOT one of the eight, urge them to put Virginians over corporate profit and contact DEQ with our concerns!

An Appalachian Voices Web page lists the Representatives that have contacted DEQ, and those that have not, and provides contact information so you can call your representatives to thank them – or to urge them to protect the water we all rely upon.

Friends of Nelson Public Meeting, July 23, 2017

Join us at Rockfish Valley Community Center on Sunday July 23, 2017, 6:30 pm, for the latest updates on our pipeline fight and to hear David Sligh discuss Virginia Water Quality Permitting, the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Public comment period and public hearings and the current situation with the proposed route across National Forest Lands.