Report of mudslide in Franklin County near Mountain Valley Pipeline construction

Landowners say about foot of mud blocked road

By Alison Wickline - Reporter

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. - Heavy rains caused a mudslide to block a Boones Mill road near Mountain Valley Pipeline construction.

Landowners said that, early Friday morning, about a foot of mud was blocking the road.

Pipeline crews were clearing mud from the road and the bank. 

Wendell Flora has owned his farm on Cahas Mountain Road for more than 50 years. He said, in all his time there, he's never seen flooding like this. 

"When the pipeline wasn't here, naturally, the water would be up. It would get up really high, but it wouldn't be muddy, running muddy like it is now," said Flora.

He took water samples and pictures of the mud piling up in the creek near his driveway. He plans to send them to the Department of Environmental Quality because he believes this mudslide could be the first of many. Mike Carter, a member of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors, agrees.

"I think it's going to be an ongoing process. At what point in time will they say they're done and they're not going to clean anything else up and leave it like it is?" said Flora.

"My concerns are what they've always been -- damage to our environment, damage to our watershed, runoff that's going to not only the town of Rocky Mount's water treatment plant but Smith Mountain Lake's sedimentation and water quality," said Carter.

Mountain Valley Pipeline sent 10 News this statement:

"On 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. The project team remains committed to the safe and responsible construction of this important underground infrastructure project."

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