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Energy & Environment

Huntersville Gasoline Spill Now Estimated To Be 1.2M Gallons

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Colonial Pipeline
Map shows the locations of wells around Colonial Pipeline's Huntersville spill. Orange dots are the 50 wells where gasoline has been recovered. The green and pink dots are monitoring wells.

The estimated size of the largest gasoline pipeline spill in North Carolina history keeps growing. Colonial Pipeline now estimates that nearly 1.2 million gallons of gasoline spilled when a pipeline ruptured in a Huntersville nature preserve last August.

That's more than double the previous estimate of 492,339 gallons as of Dec. 31, and far above the initial estimate of just 63,000 gallons last year. Colonial warned the number could go higher, as workers are still recovering 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of gasoline a day.

Meanwhile, Colonial said only 55% of the spilled gasoline (661,668 gallons) has been recovered to date. And the company so far has not said how long the cleanup will continue.

The new estimate came in a statement on Colonial's incident response website Thursday morning. The company also has filed a required Comprehensive Site Assessment report with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The assessment describes the extent of the spill and its effects on groundwater and soil. NCDEQ said in a statement that the new report will help determine final cleanup plans.

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Colonial Pipeline
Groundwater monitoring wells around the Huntersville gasoline spill site.

The site is off Huntersville-Concord Road, east of downtown Huntersville. Colonial said that weekly tests of drinking water wells around the site have not found any contamination.

"Colonial has collected 193 samples from water supply wells, including weekly samples from water supply wells within the 1,500-foot sampling radius established by NCDEQ, and no petroleum constituents have been detected in any of those samples," the statement said.

Colonial said a preliminary analysis found that a crack in the pipe wall caused the spill.

NCDEQ issued a Notice of Violation to Colonial in September. It requires the company to restore groundwater in the area and to submit regular progress reports.

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