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Residents Near Pipeline Construction Report Erosion Problems

Hope Holingsworth

With the Mountain Valley Pipeline under construction in southwestern Virginia, reports of problems and violations are coming in.

One family worries a spring near their water supply has been breached.

"Here's the pipeline that's crossing Catawba Road it's about 3 tenths of a mile from the spring," Linda Sink said as she holds up a map.

Her heart sank last week when she saw a spring on her property do something it never did in the 80 years her family has owned this property.

"It's a year-round spring," Sink notes.  "It never runs muddy and it was running blood red, muddy."

Sink is worried the cause is nearby construction work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Kirk Bowers, with Virginia's Sierra Club says the group "Mountain Valley Watch" has reported at least 15 erosion control violations.

"What we're seeing is that the contractor is not installing the erosion control devices before they begin their grading," Bowers says.  "We're seeing is a lot of mud and the contractor is not fixing the problems."

Last year, Linda Sink contacted the agencies involved in the pipeline project to let them know that her spring had not been included on the list of water crossings, so it's been invisible to work crews. She didn't get a reply.

But when the she saw her spring run red spring last week, she tried again.  The following week, two representatives from Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality went to to her house. They promised to look into it and get back to her.

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