City raises more questions about pipeline's impact on Roanoke River

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The city of Roanoke is raising more questions about the impact of the Mountain Valley Pipeline on water quality in western Virginia.

On Tuesday, members of city council were briefed on the potential impact of soil erosion and the sediment it would put into the Roanoke River. And members were told it could cost tens of millions of dollars to repair damage.

"Sediment. That's our number one thing," said Roanoke Stormwater Utility Manager Dwayne D'Ardenne. "That's what we're concerned about the most."

Using information from a pipeline consultant, city staffers estimated the cost of addressing a two percent increase in sedimentation at $36 million.

And they say they don't have enough information to even know if that estimate is reliable.

"I can't see any reason why we should be confident that everything is going to be okay. ," said Roanoke City Council Member Bill Bestpitch.

Pipeline opponents say the city's staff and council members are asking important questions.

"According to the pipeline company's own consultant, the erosion and sedimentation from this project will run all the way from Jefferson National Forest to Smith Mountain Lake or Niagara dam," said pipeline opponent Diana Christopulos. "That means it runs all the way through Salem, all the way through Roanoke. And someone's going to have to pay for that, It's probably us."

City Council is drafting a resolution to express its concerns to the Department of Environmental Quality, and council members say they will work with lawmakers to ensure that the pipeline company is held accountable if the project damages the Roanoke River.

In a written statement Tuesday afternoon, a representative of the pipeline company said MVP would adhere to stringent controls, and would implement inspection and maintenance programs to minimize potential impacts to water quality.

Following is the complete statement from Josie L. Schultz, External Communications Manager for EQT Corporation.

"MVP will adhere to FERC’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation and Maintenance Plan, as well as project-specific, agency-approved erosion and sedimentation plans. In addition to these stringent controls, MVP will implement inspection and maintenance programs to minimize potential impacts to waterbodies. The project also will be inspected by FERC, Virginia DEQ and the West Virginia DEP to monitor erosion and sedimentation and ensure permit compliance."