Crews Say Hurricane Could Place Virginia Pipeline in Critical Condition

September 19, 2018

Work crews constructing Virginia’s Mountain Valley pipeline are preparing the site for Hurricane Florence’s intense rainfall, while continuing to manage this year’s runoff and erosion.

Although the pipeline’s construction has been stalled in previous months, work had resumed at the end of August after a federal agency lifted a moratorium. Construction has halted again as crews work to equip construction zones against flooding and wind damage, according to the Washington Post.

“We are taking all possible precautions in Virginia to ensure the safety of our crews and communities, as well as to protect and maintain erosion and sediment controls along MVP’s right-of-way,” said a statement from EQT Midstream Partners, the Pittsburgh company driving the pipeline project.

With pipeline construction involving clearing trees up and down mountains, digging pits, and crossing or tunneling under streams, the Washington Post reports that “keeping erosion out of pristine waterways is a massive job,” even without potential hurricane downpour.

Since the pipeline’s route passes through rugged terrain and steep slopes, issues with erosion and runoff are already present. Recent changes in weather patterns have affected this drastically. According to the State Water Control Board, state and federal standards call for work sites to be protected against 24-hour rain events of a type that statistically occur once every two years. In some cases, the level of rain expected every two years has happened more than once a month.

The Bayou Bridge, a 163-mile pipeline designed to carry crude oil through Louisiana, is also set to take longer to construct than expected due to weather. 

Source: The Washington Post