Proposed permit for environmental cleanup draws criticism after major gasoline spill

Three years after a major spill, Colonial Pipeline wants to build a wastewater treatment plant on the same site.
Colonial Pipeline is requesting a permit to put a wastewater treatment facility on the same site where a massive gasoline spill occurred in 2020.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:27 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - In August 2020, Colonial Pipeline had the largest gasoline spill in the state, and possibly in the country, in the town of Huntersville.

The spill released two million gallons of gasoline.

Frustrated neighbors, the department of environmental quality, and the company at the center of the controversy, met Thursday night to discuss Colonial Pipeline’s request for a permit to put a wastewater treatment facility on the site.

Colonial claims this would speed up recovery efforts and cut out the need for trucks to transport the water to treat elsewhere.

But many neighbors and other attendees, including the Yadkin Riverkeeper, were in opposition.

They proposed changes to the permit, like monitoring the treatment plant, and limiting contaminants like benzene and PFAS to ensure water quality standards.

“There’s a myriad of pollutants in gasoline that we are concerned about, but benzene in particular is a known carcinogen,” the riverkeeper, Edgar Miller said. “It’s a sad site to see, given the purpose of that site being a Nature Preserve.”

Nancy Carter, who serves on the Mecklenburg County soil and water district, said the community needs to speak up to make sure health and safety is the top priority.

“If you have water that is not completely clean, you will not have soil that is completely clean and you will not have food that is completely clean,” Carter said. “I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to say these are the important issues that we as citizens need to put before our government and our government needs to enforce.”

The DEQ has 90 days to issue the permit.

Neighbors are hoping for the best, but Miller said if it doesn’t go their way, they could consider a lawsuit.

Related: Colonial Pipeline seeking water treatment plant permit at site of 2020 Huntersville gas leak