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DEQ orders pipeline construction on Cahas Mtn Road to stop following mud flow

Charles Flora took pictures of the mud runoff on his street. (Photo: Annie Andersen)

FRANKLIN Co., VA (WSET)-- ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) -- Homeowners in the area of the Cahas Mountain in Franklin County say their fears are coming true when it comes to the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Sighing, Charles Flora said "Yes, we told you so, but now the sadness sinks in as well."

Flora, who owns Floradale Farms on Cahas Mountain Road took pictures of the muddy run-off from where crews for the MVP have been working.

After days of wet weather, Friday, Cahas Mountain Road was covered with about 6 inches of mud, forcing state and county officials to close the road while it was cleaned.

With trees already cleared by MVP workers, there was nothing to hold the soil in place during the storms.

Following the mud flow, the state Department of Environmental Quality ordered pipeline workers to stop building in that area, telling them to instead work on cleaning and fixing erosion problems.

The farm where the slide happened has been in Flora's family for 120 years. Flora says it was heartbreaking to see the damage. He worries that as more storms come, there will be even more damage.

"We knew with those steep grades that they could not excavate this and control it real well. Now, they could have been lucky that with no rains, but rains came as they always do this time of year. It has effected the wildlife in the stream, it effects my brother's cattle. The rivers and the streams were running red," said Flora.

Both DEQ and the MVP ay they don't believe the runoff reached any of the streams or wetlands.

In a statement, Natalie Cox, a spokesperson for MVP, said:

On Friday, May 18, 2018, an inspector notified the MVP project team that a slip occurred on the right-of-way adjacent to Cahas Mountain Road. About six to eight inches of mud blocked both lanes of the road, but no streams or wetlands were impacted. Unusually heavy rainfall overnight contributed to turbidity in a nearby stream, which is apparent from the water conditions upstream from the right-of-way and site of the slip.

Initial reviews indicate the controls were installed properly; however, the circumstances appear unusual and an ultimate cause is under investigation. Upon learning of the issue, MVP crews promptly began remediation activities, and the road was reopened about 5:30 p.m. Friday. The project team remains committed to the safe and responsible construction of this important underground infrastructure project.

DEQ says they will have engineers in the area all week long watching and working with MVP on reestablishing erosion control.

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