NCDEQ, Colonial Pipeline reach $5 million agreement for massive gasoline leak in Huntersville

This comes almost eight months after the NCDEQ filed a complaint and motion for injunctive relief in the Mecklenburg County Superior Court.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Colonial Pipeline have agreed to a consent order that would require Colonial to pay nearly $5 million for the August 2020 gasoline spill in the Oehler Nature Preserve near Huntersville.

The gas spill is the largest in North Carolina history and Colonial Pipeline will be held accountable as the responsible party in this agreement.

This comes almost eight months after the NCDEQ filed a complaint and motion for injunctive relief in the Mecklenburg County Superior Court. The court will now have to approve the consent order.

“The Consent Order requires Colonial to meet its obligations to the communities impacted by the release, starting with an accurate accounting of the spill volume,” said NCDEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “This release is on track to be the largest onshore spill in our nation’s history and the order holds Colonial accountable for the necessary cleanup to restore the environment.”

Related: Colonial Pipeline faces enormous daily fine after massive NC gasoline leak, feds say

Colonial is required to provide an updated estimate of the volume of gasoline released. To this day, Colonial has recovered more than $1.4 million gallons of product from the site. In April 2021, DEQ required additional actions when the data showed the previous estimate of 1.2 million gallons was not accurate.

“Since the release discovery, Colonial Pipeline has remained committed to protecting public health and safety, recovering free product, and assessing and remediating the local environment,” Colonial said in a statement. “We take our community and regulatory responsibilities seriously and will continue to take every appropriate step at the site to remediate it consistent with all regulatory requirements.”

Additional terms of the proposed Consent Order include:

  • Providing a revised Comprehensive Site Assessment addendum with revised conceptual site model for both the petroleum release and soil contamination;
  • Conducting quarterly sampling for PFAS in specific monitoring wells;
  • Developing a plan to assess the free product (gasoline) in bedrock, including the construction of 5 to 15 additional bedrock wells;
  • Conducting monthly surface water quality sampling and reporting;
  • Submitting a Corrective Action Plan and proposed schedule; and
  • Continuing monitoring, remedial action and reporting.

By statute, collected civil penalties are sent to the state’s education fund.

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