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Pipeline Construction: What it Means for Water Supply


The ultimate routes of natural gas pipelines that would run through Virginia have yet to be determined.  Among the concerns that raises, is; what effect could pipeline construction have on people’s well water? 

In most counties in Virginia, a majority of families rely on well water, according to the state department of health.  Most of them are in rural areas. And that’s also where many of the hundreds of miles of proposed natural gas pipelines would run.   Mark Jones of Clear Creek Water Works in Christiansburg says most of the problems that could affect well water would come from the physical work of putting in pipelines. And that means, that at least in certain parts of Virginia….

“They’re going to be doing a lot of blasting and when you do blasting in rock, the shock waves travel a long way.”

Jones, a certified Master Water Specialist says those shock waves can affect private wells. And there’s no way to know exactly how near they have to be to have an impact. He says well owners have been testing their water to establish a baseline on its quality, presence or absence of bacteria and more.

“So that if it does go through and if it does affect their well they can prove that it affected the well."

The pipeline companies have also created plans to sample, water sources for domestic use before, during and after construction. According to its website, the project by EQT and Next Era energy, for the Mountain Valley Pipeline would test drinking-water wells located within 150 feet of the 42 inch pipeline.

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg, covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia.
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