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Mountain Valley Pipeline

The Commonwealth of Virginia is proposing to enter into a judicial consent decree with Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC to settle violations of the Commonwealth's environmental laws and regulations related to construction activities in Craig, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pittsylvania, and Roanoke Counties, Va. Written comments will be accepted from October 28 through Nov. 27, 2019, and should be submitted by email by postal mail or hand-delivery. See Office of the Attorney General for more information.

On Aug. 16, DEQ lifted the stop work instruction issued on Aug. 2, 2019. On Aug. 1, DEQ inspectors found erosion and sediment controls inadequate and issued the stop work instruction, a temporary measure to correct deficiencies before resuming work. Agency guidance details the stop work instruction process.

On October 5, 2018, the Army Corps of Engineers suspended permitted construction in streams and wetlands so new construction is currently prohibited in these areas. However, maintenance and re-establishment of controls is essential and is allowed.

On Aug. 30, 2018 Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) responded to orders issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The FERC’s Modified Stop Work Order allows construction activities to restart, with exception of areas located within proximity of the Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail and the Jefferson National Forest. The Court also denied a request to stay MVP’s permit related to stream and waterbody crossings in Virginia and lifted the stay in West Virginia (see full statement).

DEQ's certified inspectors will continue to be on site to ensure appropriate erosion and sediment control measures are in place, installed properly and maintained. 

DEQ only has authority over certain aspects of this project, but is coordinating its inspections, investigations and compliance efforts with other state and federal agencies.  For the fastest resolution of your concern, please direct your report to the appropriate regulatory agency:

Water pollution:  erosion, sedimentation, runoff and stormwater—DEQ
Oil spills, waste management—DEQ 
Wetlands and stream crossings—US Army Corps of Engineers
Forest buffers or tree cutting—FERC
Wildlife, migratory birds and bats—FERC
Cultural resources, easements, boundaries and land access—FERC
Karst, surface water withdrawals and other upland conditions—DEQ &/or FERC

Reporting Pollution or Non-compliance Incidents

Using the on-line reporting form, please describe the situation and give a specific location.  After submittal, you will receive a Reference ID # that can be used to review the status of your report. Each month, the pollution and permit database  is updated and available for download,  In addition, a weekly report (as an Excel spreadsheet) is available for the list of investigations and their status.  

Regulatory Approvals

The following information provides a summary of the regulatory approvals required to protect water quality for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. Additional details are included in DEQ's report to the State Water Control Board (board).

Erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater management plans

As required by law, certified staff approved the erosion, sediment and stormwater control plans on March 26, 2018. DEQ required MVP to submit detailed, project-specific erosion and sedimentation control (ESC) and stormwater management (SWM) plans that comply with Virginia’s stormwater, erosion and sediment control regulations for every foot of land disturbance related to pipeline construction, including access roads and construction lay-down areas. Plan approval authorizes land disturbance in Virginia. While Virginia law does not provide for public notice of and comment on ESC and SWM plans, DEQ, in order to provide a transparent review process and public participation, required MVP to post the plans on its website. DEQ requested public input on technical and engineering requirements of the draft ESC and SWM plans. The public input opportunity on the site-specific plans closed on October 22, 2017. DEQ and its certified plan reviewers have reviewed the plans for compliance with Virginia’s stormwater and erosion and sediment control regulations. Revised plans are available to view on MVP's website. These approvals are not under the board's purview, but information on the adequacy of the ESC and SWM plans is included in the report to the board.

Annual standards and specifications for pipelines

The annual standards and specifications program was reviewed by DEQ for consistency with the requirements of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and the Virginia Stormwater Management Act and their associated regulations. The annual standards and specifications were approved by DEQ on June 20, 2017.

401 certification for uplands

 On December 7, 2017, the State Water Control Board (board) approved issuance of a Section 401 water quality certification (certification) for upland activities for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The certification was issued to MVP on December 8, 2017. This certification requires additional conditions to protect water quality in upland areas and address certain environmental concerns not addressed by existing laws and regulations. This certification is part of the most rigorous regulatory process to which a proposed pipeline has been subjected in Virginia. Because of the depth of citizen concerns and to assure transparency, DEQ has provided a report to the board for MVP as required for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). However, it is important to note that unlike the certification for ACP, the MVP certification was approved by the Board,  reviewed by our attorneys, and is in place and is effective. 

Supplemental karst evaluation plan

The measures detailed in the Karst Terrain Assessment, Construction, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and included as an enforceable part of the certification address many of the concerns associated with karst features.  DEQ and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) identified several additional measures needed to further protect water quality in karst areas. The Supplemental Karst Evaluation Plan required in the certification Section V, condition 3.c., requires submission of a plan to further evaluate flow paths for karst features in the vicinity of the project.  The specific karst features of concern were identified by DEQ and DCR in the June 15, 2017 request for information letter.  The evaluation of flow paths is accomplished using dye trace studies to determine hydrological connections and relationships associated with sensitive karst features at risk from construction and operation of the pipeline. Such studies will greatly aid in spill response and recovery in the unlikely event of a discharge of sediment or chemical contaminants.  DEQ and DCR have reviewed the plan and dye trace study results and any associated monitoring and contingency measures. The supplemental protection plan was accepted on March 13, 2018.

Report to the Board

DEQ submitted a report on March 26, 2018 to the State Water Control Board on the adequacy of the approved materials. The report is a compilation of factual information on actions taken by DEQ in accordance with the board-approved certification; and, as such is not be the subject of a public comment period. No further action by the board was required for the approvals to be effective. The annual standards and specifications were approved on June 20, 2017. DEQ approved the Supplemental Karst Evaluation Plan on March 13, 2018, and the Erosion and Sediment control plans and the Stormwater Management plans on March 26, 2018. 

State Water Control Board Updates

 DEQ has been diligent, and will continue to be diligent, to ensure that all appropriate practices are in place and followed to meet all water quality challenges identified. DEQ has worked, and will continue to work, to make sure the agency has met and will meet all the requirements of state and federal law for which it is responsible. DEQ will hold the developers to the highest standards for which they are accountable.

More Information

Pollution and noncompliance reporting form or call (804) 698-4003.


FERC Landowner Help

Background Information

Water Protection for Pipelines overview page

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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