The largest gas spill in North Carolina’s history just got a whole lot bigger.
Colonial Pipeline has just released a new report laying out the results of the massive cleanup effort that began in August of 2020.
The spill was first detected on August 14th coming from a ruptured Colonial Pipeline gas line near Huntersville’s Oehler Nature Preserve. The liquid petroleum gas line that ruptured runs 5,550-miles from Texas, through the southern states, to New Jersey.
In days following the Aug. 14, spill, Colonial said they believed that 63,000 gallons had spilled into the surrounding Mecklenburg County nature preserve, but they soon adjusted that figure to 272,000 gallons.
Now, 6 months later, cleanup efforts have revealed that even their 272,000-gallon estimate was way off.
According to their new report, “a total of 50 vacuum enhanced recovery wells have been installed within the release area. Pneumatic recovery pumps have been placed in the wells and vacuum is applied to the wells to enhance recovery. As of January 16, 2021, approximately 569,003 gallons of gasoline-free product and approximately 217,959 gallons of petroleum contact water have been recovered from the recovery well network.”
The company has also installed a total of 81 groundwater monitoring wells near the location of the spill, and while they say they have not detected any petroleum products “laboratory reporting limits”, the well data does show significant contamination of at least 20 chemicals in the water, many of which are dangerous carcinogens.
Colonial has said it has spent at least $10 million on the cleanup effort so far. NCDEQ has cited the company for several environmental violations but hasn’t issued a monetary penalty.