The Department of Environmental Protection has issued a Notice of Violation to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for failure to control erosion on an Upshur County construction site.
Volunteers with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition made initial reports of sediment-laden waterways on June 6 and again on June 25.
The Notice of Violation was issued on June 28 following an inspection by a DEP inspector who cited erosion control failure, offsite sediment deposits, and site equipment malfunctions.
The citation is the first finalized Notice of Violations issued to the pipeline but some people say it will not be the last.
“They need to make improvements, and they need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, in terms of storm and rain. The pollution happened. The pollution entered one of the tributaries, and that’s what we are trying to prevent,” said West Virginia Rivers Coalition Executive Director Angie Rosser.
Rosser says several years ago, the coalition began training community members on how to properly inspect waterways for issues. It has been working to train more of them since pipeline construction began earlier this year.
“Having more boots on the ground and eyes on these projects is important because these are people’s land.”
Atlantic Coast Pipeline Spokesperson Samantha Norris says the violation is a top priority for developers and work is being done to correct the issues.
“We have committed through the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to construct and maintain this pipeline to the highest environmental standards in the industry. We have taken what is required by state and federal regulators and said, ‘How can we go even further to maintain environmental preservation?'”
Following the violation notice, construction stopped at the Upshur County location to assess what changes needed to be made and how to move forward.
“We stop and pause, and we review our practices to say, ‘What went wrong, and what can we do better to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” continued Norris.
Citizens throughout the state have been closely monitoring the construction…and crews are on site working to comply with regulations.
“Unfortunately, with weather issues, you can’t always have everything 100% prepared for. What we can do is make sure that we are fast to act and that we put systems and processes in place to help prevent them from happening again in the future,” said Norris.
“It’s encouraging to see the process working,” said Rosser.
“As this project moves forward, we’ll see how seriously they are invested in minimizing harms or eliminating them at all is the hope. I don’t think that’s realistic, and we’re troubled by all this development coming.”
Stay with 12 News for further updates.