DEQ investigates pipeline concerns on Bent Mountain

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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Staffers from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality were in Roanoke County Wednesday investigating complaints involving construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Some residents of the area say they believe the work has affected their water supply, and they're calling on the state to stop construction.

The complaints are currently focused on the area where the pipeline crosses under Route 221.

Some neighbors on Rocky Road have reported sediment in their drinking water supply, a problem they attribute to pipeline construction.

Mary Beth Coffey lives a couple of miles from the 221 crossing, but she fears the same result when the pipeline comes through wetlands on her property.

"I'm not a hydrologist. I'm not a scientist, but I have observed when we've buried posts here. When we dig a hole, it fills with water," Coffey told WDBJ7.

"This whole mountain is a watershed," she said.

Pipeline opponents are asking the state to stop construction in the area, while experts evaluate potential problems.

"That's our drinking water, that's what we're concerned about here," said pipeline opponent Roberta Bondurant. "And it's the warning that the state board needs to stop work right now."

A spokesman for the Mountain Valley Pipeline provided the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"The Mountain Valley Pipeline project team has worked closely with state and federal environmental agencies to provide accurate, comprehensive information that would allow for a thorough environmental review and approval of the project. The plans for this important infrastructure line were subject to an exhaustive review for more than three years – and the MVP project has satisfied every requirement and has been authorized for construction by federal and state agencies."

"Prior to construction, the MVP project team offered to conduct baseline testing of drinking water supplies within approximately 150 feet of the proposed construction right-of-way (500 feet in karst areas). The project team also has offered to do post-construction sampling in the same areas."

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said DEQ staffers including a geologist and hydrologist were in the area Wednesday to follow up on landowner concerns that water quality was affected.

She said they observed the area and took photos for evaluation, but have not offered any immediate conclusions.