“Numerous environmental risks associated with pipeline construction and operation present direct threats to groundwater resources,” according to a study released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The study, Threats to Groundwater from the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia, was conducted by Downstream Strategies of Morgantown, WV. The study assessed the impact the two pipeline projects would have on private drinking water wells and springs in Virginia. Among study’s findings and recommendations are:
- Pipeline construction and operation present serious threats to underground sources of drinking water via soil compaction and excavation, surface spills of diesel and other petrochemicals, blasting and trenching, alterations of topography, exposed geology, hydrostatic testing, sinkhole filling and development, and drilling.
- In Virginia, approximately 2 million people rely on groundwater resources for drinking water.
- Baseline testing plans for both water quantity and quality, for both the ACP and MVP, are inadequate to protect drinking water sources, and do not match best management practices.
- To ensure protection of groundwater resources in non-karst areas, testing of private water wells should be expanded beyond the current 150-foot limit.
- To ensure protection of groundwater resources in karst areas, testing of private water wells and springs should be expanded beyond the current distance limits.
- The karst mitigation plans for both pipelines are inadequate.