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Energy & Environment

Colonial Pipeline Reports Huntersville Leak Occurred At Site Of Previous Repair

An image shown at an Aug. 21 meeting with Huntersville officials shows Colonial Pipeline's radius for testing wells, with DEQ's required distances inside
Colonial Pipeline Company
An image shown at an Aug. 21 meeting with Huntersville officials shows Colonial Pipeline's radius for testing wells, with DEQ's required distances inside.

Colonial Pipeline says an August gasoline pipeline leak in Huntersville happened at a previous repair site, according to the first report the company released detailing the circumstances of the leak.

The section that leaked was one that Colonial repaired back in 2004. In the repair, the company used what’s called a “Type A sleeve,” which reinforces a pipeline when defects are found.

Colonial Pipeline’s report listed the cause of the accident as still “under investigation,” and will submit a report in mid-November with more findings.

Colonial Pipeline estimated the leak will cost it $10.3 million, with at least $2.5 million of that slated for environmental cleanup of the contaminated soil and groundwater. The company said previously it had completed four rounds of testing for drinking wells in the immediate area around the site and hadn’t found any contaminated wells.

Colonial also said in the report that it had a safety system in place called SCADA, but that it did not notice a drop in pressure when the leak occurred. Another type of computer monitoring system called a CPM was not installed on the pipeline because of its age.

The report confirmed the leak was discovered by two teenagers riding ATVs near the right-of-way, who saw gasoline bubbling up from the ground.

Colonial announced ahead of this report release that its new estimate for how much gasoline had been released increased four-fold. It now thinks at least 272,580 gallons have spilled, up from its initial estimate of 63,000 gallons.

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