Construction and operation of the pipeline in Horizons Village would put residents’ personal safety and property at risk. Below are several risk factors specific to Horizons Village.
Landslides and Erosion
- The elevation along the South Appalachian Trail South Alternate Route in Horizons Village drops dramatically, plunging from 1,500 feet to less than 900 feet, with some grades being as steep as 58 degrees.
- Horizons Village, like much of Nelson County, is located on steep slopes of highly fractured bedrock that are covered with a shallow layer of topsoil. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) states that these exact conditions lead to an increased frequency of landslides. Nine homes and eight building sites are within 1,350 feet and downhill from the Appalachian Trail South Alternate Route. In the event of a landslide, these properties could be damaged or destroyed.
- The Appalachian Trail South Alternate Route would disturb at least five seasonal drainage streams in Horizons Village. The drainage from these streams have a combined watershed of approximately 250 acres.
- A shift in the flow of water into these drainage streams could place nearly every lot at risk for severe flooding, erosion, and safety hazards. In fact, 37 of the subdivision’s 40 lots—home to 20 residences—are located downstream or downhill from the proposed route. These lots constitute approximately 275 acres in Horizons Village.
- In Horizons Village, there are 17 wells, eight springs, five seasonal streams, four wetland areas, and two year-round streams within 1,320 feet of the Appalachian Trail South Alternate Route. The trenching and blasting activities required to install the 42-inch piping to depth through the community would result in the establishment of unnatural drainage pathways with the potential for unforeseen erosional impacts and unstable base formations during and after construction.
- The Virginia Department of Forestry conducted a wildfire hazard assessment of Horizons Village, rating it between “High Risk” and “Extreme Risk.” A highly combustible natural gas pipeline through any part of Horizons Village would only increase the risk of wildfires in the community.
- Wintergreen Fire and Rescue provided Horizons Village with an assessment of a wildland-interface fire and concluded that Horizons Village is at risk, particularly our western boundary because of its slopes could serve as a fire conduit to neighboring communities, including Fortune’s Ridge, a mountain community adjacent to the entrance of Wintergreen resort.
- Horizons Village only has a single access road for entry and egress. Limited entry and egress during a wildfire or a pipeline emergency could have catastrophic effects for both residents and first responders by delaying or completely inhibiting access to the community and trapping residents and first responders inside the emergency zone.
- The blast-zone radius for a 42-inch pipeline under high pressure is approximately 1,100 feet; this blast-zone radius encompasses 20 lots Horizons Village, and also four homes outside the neighborhood.