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Energy & Environment

NC DEQ Cites Colonial Pipeline For Leak Due To Chemicals Found In Groundwater

Right of way for the Colonial Pipeline, near the Pavilion Estates Neighborhood. The leak occured approximately 5,000 feet in this direction from the neighborhood.
Michael Falero
/
WFAE
Right of way for the Colonial Pipeline, near the Pavilion Estates Neighborhood. The leak occured approximately 5,000 feet in this direction from the neighborhood.

North Carolina’s environmental regulator has cited Colonial Pipeline for its pipeline leak, which released nearly 273,000 gallons of gasoline into the soil in Huntersville in August.

The citation, also called a Notice of Violation, said a number of chemicals found in gasoline have been discovered in groundwater samples around the site of the pipeline leak. These chemicals were found at levels above accepted environmental standards.

The chemicals included benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene. The federal government says benzene can cause cancer by exposure through the air, and ethylbenzene has been possibly linked to cancer.

The citation came from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, which has been receiving reports from Colonial since the leak was discovered Aug. 14. DEQ classified the risk from the gasoline leak as “high.”

DEQ instructed Colonial Pipeline to restore the surrounding groundwater quality to state-established standards. The company must also provide monthly reports with information on their sampling of the surrounding soil, surface water, pipeline monitoring wells and drinking wells.

Colonial Pipeline is required to submit a comprehensive report on the site by Jan. 20, 2021.

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