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Colonial Pipeline Tells Officials Huntersville Leak May Be Bigger Than First Thought

Dozens of heavy duty and pickup trucks line the sides of an off-road near Huntersville-Concord Road on Thursday August 20th. Colonial Pipeline said it had completed a repair of the leak by that evening.
Michael Falero

A leak in a gasoline pipeline in Huntersville last month may have been larger than the pipeline company originally thought.

State Sen. Natasha Marcus posted on her Facebook page that Colonial Pipeline representatives told her the company’s initial estimate of 63,000 gallons of gas spilled at the site was just that - an initial estimate.

Colonial told Marcus that a higher number may be reported to regulators on an incident report due by Sept. 14. The leak happened Aug. 14, and it took six days and more than 200 Colonial workers to plug.

Residents near the spill have also said the company has contacted them, offering to close their private drinking wells.

Shannon Ward told Huntersville Town Council members at a meeting Tuesday night that Colonial offered to connect her to town water. She said the contract required her to allow the company to operate wells and equipment on her property indefinitely without compensation for her.

"I can’t hold them responsible for any damages to my property, and if it affects my property value, I’m out of luck," Ward said.

A Colonial Pipeline representative told Huntersville Town Council members the company has not found any gasoline in the wells it has offered to close. The representative also said Colonial conducted three rounds of tests on residential wells within its testing radius and has not found any gasoline product. Colonial did not confirm to WFAE whether it would report more than the estimated 63,000 gallons in its 30-day report.

Michael Falero is a radio reporter, currently covering voting and the 2020 election. He previously covered environment and energy for WFAE. Before joining WFAE in 2019, Michael worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and UNC Chapel Hill.