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Water Ecological Concerns

Industrial-Scale Solar Near Waterways-Wetlands Can Lead To Catastrophic Water - Ecological Disasters

The neighbors exlain since last fall, every time it rains, a little more of their land is being washed away by excess stormwater runoff from Dominion Energy’s Belcher Solar Project.

The week before, the project in Essex County was celebrated by officials. Only a half inch of rain caused this environmental disaster, feeding into the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay watershed, in Virginia.


By: Mark Holmberg

Posted Feb 08, 2018

ESSEX COUNTY, Va. -- Gary McCauley of Essex County knows construction and he knows the Muddy Gut Creek watershed where he’s spent most of his 63 years.

Never for a minute did he believe anyone, or any company would be allowed to build in such a way that an untold number of tons of muddy sediment would blast through the ditches, the sleepy creek and into the Rappahannock River, all part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


“Mud coming in from the solar farm, all the way up the road, down in Muddy Gut Creek, which feeds right into the river,” he said as he looked at the mud-clogged ditches by the creek. Read full article.

Uncontrolled storm water runoff and erosion are well-documented byproducts of industrial-scale solar construction. This massive increase in watershed sedimentation impacts all downstream rivers and waterways. Water contamination doesn’t stop with the end of construction. Removal of all trees and deep-rooted plants, along with inadequate stormwater controls lead to runoff, erosion and water contamination issues. These power plants should not be sited on agricultural land, near wetlands and waterways and away from residents whose groundwater and environment could be damaged.

Our advice to fellow citizens if an industrial-scale solar plant application is being proposed in an inappropriate and disastrous area?

1. Share materials and raise awareness, with your community, planning commission and board of supervisors.

2. Start to document heavy rainfall (collecting and submitting photos-videos) to your local county.

3. Engage with your local environmental organizations-groups, to submit opposing letters (view examples here).

4. Gather land owners-farmers-organizations to speak about the water issues and why the land isn't right for industrial-scale solar on agricultural-rural-forestry land.

5. View the 3 important points at the bottom of this page to cover off in your community planning meetings.

Guidance and Site Plans “Isn’t Enough” When The Rain Falls And Soil Is Exposed. If Solar Poses Water Concerns, Then It Should Be Rejected.

Culpeper Faces Disastrous Water Run-Off Consequences that Lead Into The Rapidan River - Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Which Have Not Been Addressed

Uncontrolled runoff of water and topsoil is a well-documented byproduct of large-scale solar project site development. The sites targeted by solar developers include wetlands, streams and tributaries that feed into the Rapidan River and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay.


This is a photo of the Radian River in Culpeper, which frequently floods as seen here in 2019.

“It’s like any other large-scale development. When you remove the forest cover and plants, it exposes the soil” and runoff results during rainstorms.
“Smaller communities don’t have the professional staff to manage large-scale projects,” and they are caught off guard, Ricci said.
Read Full Article

Culpeper Flooding (5 videos) 12 Nov, 202...