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Cornelius News

New estimate of Colonial spill near 500,000 gallons

Photo: Lisa Sorg/NC Policy Watch

Jan. 15. By Dave Yochum. Colonial Pipeline has once again revised the size of the gasoline spill that occurred in Huntersville this past August. Colonial originally estimated the spill at 272,000 gallons, and then revised it to 354,000 gallons in November.

The new estimate Jan. 6. is close to 500,000 gallons.

Colonial now says 11,722 barrels have leaked. With each barrel containing 42 gallons, the math says 492,234 gallons of gasoline found its way into the ground near the break, which occurred off Huntersville-Concord Road.

Colonial Pipeline said the leak originated from a section of pipe repaired in 2004. The pipeline, which stretches from New Jersey to Texas, is more than 40 years old.

$10 million cleanup

Colonial estimated it will incur costs of at least $10 million, including $2.6 million to clean up and monitor the contaminated groundwater and soil, plus $351,000 in lost gasoline.

Colonial said repairs, which include re-coating the the pipelines, are expected to be completed within three to five weeks.

The low-density neighborhoods around the spill are on private well water. Although no petroleum products have been detected in residential wells, Colonial has offered to cap some of them and connect the homes to a public water system, plus pay the owners $1,000 for future water bills.

The NCDEQ is requiring Colonial to restore groundwater quality and submit monthly reports that include soil sampling and public water system hook-ups for residents.

Colonial Pipeline has purchased three homes nearby.

Environmental update

Colonial is in the process of clearing a linear pathway that will facilitate access to drilling equipment. Through Dec. 29, 2020, Colonial has installed a total of 78 monitoring wells and 48 recovery wells, and has recovered 11,722 barrels of product. The Nov. 30 report can be accessed by clicking here.

Statement from Colonial

“We remain committed to exceeding all regulatory standards and recovering all released product. We also remain committed to regaining the trust of our neighbors and will continue to work with local stakeholders in a collaborative and transparent manner.”

Colonial Pipeline Company System Map