The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has ordered Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to stop work on a two-mile stretch of the project in Montgomery County until erosion and sediment controls are fixed.

DEQ said late Friday that an inspection earlier in the week revealed that “imminent and substantial adverse impact to water quality is likely to occur” as a result of land-disturbing activities. The agency said it found “insufficient” erosion and sediment controls along the two-mile section. Construction on Spread H will be suspended until the company fixes the violations.

Specifically, DEQ said MVP failed to construct and maintain erosion and sediment controls or pollution prevention measures that match its approved plans for the site. MVP has been forced to stop all land disturbing activities in the area including clearing, grading and trenching work. 

“We are appalled that construction priorities and deadline pressures would ever rise above the proper and appropriate use of erosion control measures,” DEQ Director David Paylor said, adding that the agency would continue to monitor and inspect all ongoing work to regain compliance.

The project has incurred hundreds of violations as it has worked through abnormally wet weather in recent years. While MVP is more than 85% complete, it has lost approvals and permits that are still pending in the face of various legal challenges. Project sponsors have been forced to delay the pipeline’s start up repeatedly, most recently pushing operations from 4Q2019 to mid-2020.

MVP has also faced repeated stop-work orders from federal and state regulators. Virginia filed a lawsuit against the project last year for construction violations.

The 300-mile pipeline would move 2 Bcf/d of Appalachian natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and connect with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to deliver more volumes to Southeast markets. EQM Midstream Partners LP,  Con Edison Transmission Inc., WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream LLC are partners in the project.