Wetlands Impacts

Dominion Cove Point LNG has applied for a permit to appropriate water in order to dewater the site for construction, which would lower the water table significantly. This dewatering could withdraw an average of 230,000 gallons of groundwater per day, for a period of ten months. There is concern that this significant site dewatering could drain the sensitive NPS wetlands, as well as impact our drinking water wells, which are hydrologically connected. In preparation for commenting on the dewatering permit The National Park Service modeled dewatering scenarios to predict the impact this dewatering would have upon their wetlands. Modeling results showed that the induced water-table drawdown from the dewatering of the site will extend into the NPS wetlands under all scenarios. Model results further showed that for a four month pumping period groundwater levels declined 1.7 - 4 feet, and for a six month period the estimated decline was 2 - 4 feet. If the wetlands in Piscataway Park are hydrologically connected to the project site, the modeled water table declines indicate that the proposed dewatering could have significant, adverse impacts on the physical, chemical, and biological processes in the wetlands.

A public informational hearing for Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG's Water Appropriation and Use Permit Application (No. CH2017G006/01) was held on Monday, June 11th at the Bryans Road Volunteer Fire Department. About 125 people attended and the time ran over by more than an hour due to all of the questions and comments. Area residents are concerned has about the potential effects the process of dewatering may have on both the surrounding wetlands and water quality.  Audience members accused the Dominion representatives of being intentionally misleading and inconsistent. At the end of the hearing John Grace, Division Chief of the Source Protection and Appropriations Division of MDE, announced that he would extend the water permit comment period until August 10th. See the water talking points below for further information on concerns about the dewatering of the site on Barrys Hill Road.

Dominion Cove Point LNG plans to discharge the withdrawn water resulting from this massive dewatering by pumping it into a sediment pond before allowing it to drain into the adjacent Mill Swamp. Their plan is to obtain a General Permit for Storm Water Discharge Associated with Construction Activity in order to cover that discharge. There is a growing concern that a public hearing should be held on this permit given the extraordinary impacts a water discharge of that magnitude would have on our wetlands, properties, and nearby surface waters.

Additional Information and Resources

MDE Water Permit Info

Dewatering Talking Points 8-11-18 (pdf)

NPS Protected Land (pdf)

The proposed pipeline compressor station will be located among wetlands that are contiguous with Mill Swamp.  This is emphasized after a rain, as shown in the video below of Barry's Hill Raod directly in front of the proposed site.   Across Barrys Hill Road from the proposed compressor station site are 146 acres of land, much of it wetlands, which are owned by the National Park Service. This area is protected by the strictest easements in Piscataway National Park as a wildlife and plant refuge. There is serious concern that these wetlands will be damaged by the construction dewatering process. A map from the state tax website shows the location of the NPS Protected Land and its proximity to the proposed pipeline compressor station site. 

Many Southern Maryland residents, including all residents of the Moyaone Reserve, rely exclusively on well water, so ground water contamination or a spill is a serious concern. The risk of groundwater contamination is heightened by the fact that Dominion will be storing 13,000 gallons of aqueous ammonia on site. 

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