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Pipeline route could affect Monroe County springs

UNION, W.Va. — Monroe County has always been known for its abundance of natural springs.

According to a 2009 comprehensive plan, by the early part of the 20th century at least 13 resorts had developed around some of the more famed Monroe springs — Red Sulphur, Salt Sulphur and Sweet Springs among them. But Peters Mountain, running along the county’s southeastern border, received special recognition in the plan for containing thousands of springs and, thus, being the source of most of Monroe’s drinking water.

 Not surprisingly, much of the organized opposition to the route under consideration for a natural gas pipeline that will cut through the county centers on the perceived threat it poses to the pristine springs of Peters Mountain.

According to geologist Rick Eades, who lives and teaches in Monroe County, one of the routes now on the drawing board for the Mountain Valley Pipeline has the potential to foul Peters Mountain springs that serve the farming community of Gap Mills and Union, the county seat and largest population hub. But, Eades said, it is likely that those springs flow from a single 1.2-mile wide karst conduit that also carries water to the mountain’s other springs.

Beginning in the 1930s, flow testing of a sampling of those springs has shown great stability, suggesting to the geologist that Peters Mountain is “like one giant reservoir,” he said. During a Wednesday evening presentation before the Monroe County Commission, Eades said measurements have shown that 1.5 million gallons of water flows through those springs every day.

And a proposed route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) — which will stretch 294 miles from Wetzel County, W.Va., to Pittsylvania County, Va., — runs right across the top of Peters Mountain…


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