Update #25: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, March 31, 2021 – 5 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

As part of our nation’s critical energy infrastructure, the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline system safely delivers more than 100 million gallons of refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. military each day.

Through our Safety Management System (SMS), we have a systematic approach to safety that is integrated throughout the company.  This SMS framework drives continuous improvement and excellence, allowing us to learn from operational events such as the August 2020 release from our pipeline outside of Huntersville, North Carolina.

Regulatory Update

Colonial has received and is reviewing a notice issued in connection with this release by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  We will respond to the Notice of Proposed Safety Order (NOPSO) within 30 days as requested by the agency.

In accordance with our SMS practices, Colonial began seeking to implement learnings from the Huntersville incident almost immediately after it occurred.  This included identifying sections of pipe with potentially similar conditions and excavating, evaluating and in some cases enhancing those pipe segments.  Colonial also has leak detection systems in place on each of its pipelines that meet, and in some cases exceed, current regulatory requirements and continues to invest in improvements to leak detection technology.

Additionally, in November 2020, Colonial removed and replaced the impacted section of pipe from the release area to allow for additional analysis, even though this removal was not required.  Colonial sent the section to a third-party laboratory for metallurgical analysis to better understand what happened, and to apply findings to make improvements going forward. This analysis is complete and confirms the preliminary findings that a through-wall crack in the pipe wall was the source of this release.

We will continue to learn from this event and apply those lessons learned to our overall operations.

Environmental Update

From our initial response on Day One, Colonial continues environmental remediation and product recovery activities at the release site in close coordination with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and Mecklenburg County.

To date, Colonial has installed 158 wells to support the environmental remediation, including 96 monitoring and 62 recovery wells.  Additionally, Colonial has collected approximately 600 samples from water supply wells and surface waters. Petroleum constituents have not been detected in any of these samples.

Colonial and NCDEQ have also collected samples to monitor for and ensure that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can be found in a variety of substances including some fire-suppression agents, was not used at the location.

As previously stated, the response team at the Huntersville release site used a fire suppression product containing F-500 encapsulate agent, which, according to the manufacturer, does not contain PFAS. The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the F-500 encapsulate used onsite can be viewed here. We continue to collaborate with NCDEQ in ongoing reviews of data collected during environmental testing.

Colonial is committed to protecting public safety, restoring the natural environment, and meeting or exceeding all regulatory requirements. We also remain committed to regaining the trust of our neighbors who have been affected by this event.

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Update #24: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, February 25, 2021 – 12:30 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Colonial Pipeline Company continues environmental remediation and product recovery activities at the site of an August release from the pipeline outside of Huntersville, North Carolina, in close coordination with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and Mecklenburg County.

Environmental Update

To date, Colonial has installed 140 wells to support the environmental remediation, including 84 monitoring and 56 recovery wells at the release location.  Recovery wells are used to recover product from the subsurface. Monitoring wells are used to monitor groundwater, which allows Colonial to delineate the extent of product below the surface.

Additionally, Colonial has collected 200+ samples from water supply wells, including weekly samples from water supply wells within 1,500 feet of the release point, a radius established by NCDEQ and applicable regulations. Included in the testing radius are eight water supply wells that have been sealed to close off potential pathways for additional movement of product.

Test samples are collected by third-party consultants and then submitted for analysis under chain of custody to an NCDEQ certified third-party analytical laboratory. The results are then shared with residents and with NCDEQ.  No petroleum constituents have been detected in any of those samples.

Although there is no evidence to suggest that the product has migrated from the general vicinity of the release, at the request of local officials and in consultation with NCDEQ, Colonial will conduct additional biannual testing of water supply wells that are located between 1,500 and 2,000 feet from the release point. This expanded program will involve seven additional water supply wells, two of which are not currently in use, one which is used for irrigation purposes and four that are used for potable water needs. These four potable water supply wells were sampled as part of Colonial’s initial response, and no petroleum constituents were detected in those samples. The following illustration provides an overview of Colonial’s water supply well sampling efforts:

Community Commitment

Colonial remains committed to regaining the trust of our neighbors who have been affected by this event.  In a recent tour of the area conducted for officials with Mecklenburg County, Colonial reemphasized its commitment to restoring the natural environment, and meeting or exceeding all regulatory requirements.  We will continue to work with local partners to remediate the Oehler Nature Preserve, and we will expand area partnerships as part of our ongoing Environmental Partners Program.

 

Update #23: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, February 2, 2021, 3 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline appreciated the opportunity to provide an update on our recovery and remediation activities during the Huntersville Board of Commissioners’ meeting last night. We remain committed to regaining the trust of this community, where we have been operating for more than 50 years, and to keeping our neighbors informed.

Inspections and System Integrity

As we shared during the meeting, Colonial relies on a number of systems and processes to identify a potential release, including in-line inspections, operational monitoring, aerial patrols, and community awareness. The technology we use to monitor our mainline pipelines, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition or SCADA, is routinely updated. The system, which meets all regulatory requirements, underwent a full upgrade in 2018.

Federal regulations require that pipeline right-of-ways (ROW) be visually inspected 26 times per year. Colonial performs aerial patrols of our mainlines at least once a week – far exceeding federal regulation. In Huntersville, we performed an aerial patrol on August 12, just two days before the release was discovered. At the time of this patrol, there were no indications of a release – no signs of dead vegetation or product on the ROW.

Hydrogeological and Operational Data

An ongoing investigation of subsurface geological conditions has helped provide more information on what is happening underground at the release site. The location of the release is at the highest elevation point in the vicinity, which we believe resulted in a flow of released product downward and then outward from the release point, which was on the bottom of the pipe. Based on this hydrogeological information and the location of the crack on the pipe, we believe the product may have flowed into the subsurface for a period of time, measured in days or weeks, before reaching the surface.

We have also reviewed a significant amount of operational data from the days and weeks before the release was discovered. Based on that information, we believe this release occurred at a rate less than what SCADA technology can detect.

Recovery Efforts

To date, Colonial has installed 137 wells to support environmental remediation, including 81 monitoring and 56 recovery wells at the release location. As of January 30, Colonial had recovered approximately 17,615 barrels of product. We have continued to conduct weekly tests of water supply wells for homes within the 1,500-foot monitoring radius established by NCDEQ. These tests are performed by third-party consultants and submitted under chain of custody to NCDEQ certified third-party labs. The results are also shared with the NCDEQ.

No petroleum constituents have been detected in any of those tests. We have provided those homeowners with the opportunity to convert from well water to public water supplies, at no cost to the homeowners. That offer remains open to any homeowners in the 1,500-foot radius.

Additional Steps

We also recently reopened traffic along Huntersville-Concord Road and have worked with local businesses and contractors to install landscaping to enhance the visual appearance of the area and to minimize disruptions to our neighbors.

We will continue to update the public through this website as new information becomes available.

For a video of our response overview, click here.

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Update #22: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, January 21, 2021, 11:00 AM EST

Colonial Pipeline Company continues environmental remediation and product recovery, site enhancement, and pipeline recoating activities at the site of an August release from the pipeline outside of Huntersville, North Carolina.  The Company is working in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), Mecklenburg County, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and Colonial remains committed to cooperating with state and federal regulators throughout this process.

To date, Colonial has installed 131 wells to support the environmental remediation, including 81 monitoring and 50 recovery wells at the release location. Recovery wells are used to recover product from the subsurface. Monitoring wells are used to monitor groundwater, which allows Colonial to delineate the extent of product below the surface. The following illustration provides an overview of Colonial’s remediation and product recovery efforts:

Recovery work will continue in support of the long-term remediation plan being developed for the site in conjunction with NCDEQ and as referenced in the Comprehensive Site Assessment (CSA) report that Colonial filed with NCDEQ on January 20, 2021.

The impacted section of pipe was removed on November 10, 2020 and sent to an independent third-party laboratory for analysis. The preliminary analysis identified a through-wall crack as the source of the release, although a final determination of the cause will be made once the technical analyses are complete.

Colonial engaged independent environmental engineering firms to support its internal team of subject matter experts in product recovery, monitoring and remediation efforts – as well as to assist in gathering and analyzing environmental and geological data – to help Colonial estimate the volume of released product.

Extensive data collected over the past five months also indicates that the product is contained to the general vicinity of the release location, and weekly water supply well sampling results have shown there has been no impact to those drinking water wells.

From the beginning of this incident, information gathered from the field has informed our analysis, and we continue to collect and analyze additional information daily. Based upon operational, environmental and geotechnical data collected to-date, Colonial estimates the volume of the release to be approximately 28,571 barrels, as reported in the CSA. This volume estimate may continue to be revised as additional data is collected and analyzed by our team of internal and third-party experts. To date, Colonial has recovered approximately 15,754 barrels of product.

Additionally, 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.

Colonial is committed to protecting public safety, restoring the natural environment, and meeting or exceeding all regulatory requirements. We will continue to work with local partners to remediate Oehler Nature Preserve, and we will expand area partnerships as part of our ongoing Environmental Partners Program. We also remain committed to regaining the trust of our neighbors who have been affected by this event.

Continued response to the release that occurred will take time and we recognize that we will ultimately be judged by our actions and our work in the field. We will continue to cooperate and coordinate regularly with state and federal regulators throughout this process, while also providing transparency through updates to our response website to keep the public informed of our progress.

For a video of our response overview, click here.

Update #21: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, January 6, 2021, 4:30 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Colonial Pipeline Company (Colonial) continues remediation and product recovery activities at the site of an August 2020 release event outside of Huntersville, North Carolina.  We continue to work in close cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), Mecklenburg County, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Initial land enhancement work at the equipment staging area is underway and includes creating several berms, planting shrubs, and other landscape improvements along Huntersville-Concord Road.  This work is intended to enhance the visual impact of the worksite for our neighbors and the community.

Operational Update

Colonial has completed recoating work on Line 1.  We are currently excavating Line 2 to evaluate and replace the external coating on the segment of the pipeline, as needed, in the vicinity of the release site.  This work is expected to be completed within the next three to five weeks.

Environmental Update

In consultation with the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Colonial is in the process of clearing a linear pathway that will facilitate access to drilling equipment.  As discussed with the NCDEQ, additional product recovery wells will be installed along this pathway to expedite product recovery.  As reported to NCDEQ in our most recent 30-day report submitted on December 30, 2020, all surface and drinking water well samples continue to show no detection of petroleum products.  Through December 29, 2020, Colonial has installed a total of 78 monitoring wells and 48 recovery wells, and has recovered 11,722 barrels of product.

We remain committed to exceeding all regulatory standards and recovering all released product. We also remain committed to regaining the trust of our neighbors and will continue to work with local stakeholders in a collaborative and transparent manner.

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Update #20: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, December 23, 2020, 4:30 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Colonial Pipeline Company (Colonial) continues remediation activities at the site of an August release from the pipeline outside of Huntersville, North Carolina. This work is in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), Mecklenburg County, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Operational Update

Colonial will be reducing activities onsite around the holiday (approximately December 24-27, 2020). This break is intended to minimize potential disruptions to our neighbors, and allow more of our team to rest and recognize the holiday during this period.

Recent operational work at the site has been related to completing the recoating of the new section of the Line 1 pipeline around the release site.  Beginning next week, we will also be excavating Colonial’s Line 2 to evaluate and replace the external coating on the segment of pipeline in the vicinity of the site. This work is expected to be completed within the next four to six weeks.

Environmental Update

Beginning next week, additional work will commence to clear an area that will support equipment required to install additional product recovery wells.  This work is being conducted in cooperation with the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department. Colonial is committed to working with local partners to fully remediate and restore the site.

Stakeholder Outreach

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide transparent communication, last week Colonial hosted a delegation of local and county officials for a site tour of our continuing operational and remediation activities.

In addition, we will continue to cooperate and coordinate regularly with state and federal regulators throughout this process, while also providing transparency through updates to our dedicated response website to keep the public informed of our progress.

Colonial is committed to protecting public safety, restoring the natural environment, and meeting or exceeding all required regulatory standards.

We remain committed to regaining the trust of our neighbors and will continue to work with local stakeholders in a collaborative and transparent manner.

Update #19: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, December 10, 2020, 4 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Colonial Pipeline Company (Colonial) continues remediation activities at the site of an August release from the pipeline outside of Huntersville, North Carolina.  This work is in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), Mecklenburg County, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Environmental Update

As of November 22, 2020, Colonial had installed a total of 115 monitoring and recovery wells at the release location (68 monitoring and 47 recovery).  Recovery wells are used to collect product and groundwater from the subsurface; monitoring wells are used to measure groundwater levels to determine groundwater flow direction and to collect groundwater samples for laboratory analyses, which allows Colonial to evaluate the concentrations and extent of dissolved gasoline constituents in the subsurface.  The 68 monitoring wells include seven wells installed at deeper depths, in consultation with NCDEQ, to vertically assess any possible groundwater impacts.

Colonial and NCDEQ conduct status update meetings twice a week, and NCDEQ personnel currently visit the site on a weekly basis.  In addition, Colonial continues to gather additional environmental data and provide monthly reports to the agency.  As Colonial reported to NCDEQ in its November 30, 2020 monthly report, we recovered 8,430 barrels of product as of November 22, and recovery work will continue in support of the long-term remediation plan being developed for the site in conjunction with NCDEQ.

Extensive data collected since the release event, including sampling from the monitoring and recovery wells, indicate that the release appears to be contained within the general vicinity of the release location.  Additionally, there have been no detections of petroleum constituents in any of the weekly tests of water supply wells within the 1,500-foot sampling radius established by NCDEQ.  Likewise, bi-weekly sampling of nearby surface waters has shown no detections of petroleum constituents.

Product Volume Estimates

Colonial has engaged independent environmental engineering firms that are providing analysis and support to our internal team of subject matter experts in our product recovery, environmental monitoring and remediation efforts. These firms are also experts in modeling release events and are assisting us with gathering and analyzing site-specific environmental and geological data from the field to help determine the volume of product that was released and its distribution in the subsurface.  Determining volume in an event such as this is an intricate process that requires the detailed analysis of multiple models and data points over time.

Operational Update

In addition to our ongoing remediation work, Colonial also continues operational activities onsite.  We recently completed the removal of the impacted pipe segment for metallurgical analysis and are now conducting activities related to the recoating of the new section of pipeline and segments near the release location.  We will also be excavating Colonial’s Line 2, adjacent to Line 1, to evaluate and replace the external coating on the segment of pipeline in the vicinity of the site.  This work is expected to be completed within the next six to eight weeks.

In anticipation of additional work related to the ongoing assessment and remediation activities, we have worked with some landowners to purchase property in the area of the release site.  This will provide us with a safe workspace to support our operations and minimize inconvenience to those living in close proximity to the location.

Colonial is committed to protecting public safety, restoring the natural environment and meeting or exceeding all required regulatory standards.  We also remain committed to regaining the trust of the people in this community, who have been our neighbors for more than 50 years, and have been inconvenienced in the last few months.  We will continue to cooperate and coordinate regularly with state and federal regulators throughout this process, while also providing transparency through updates to our response website to keep the public informed of our progress.

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Update #18: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, November 16, 2020, 9:30 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

This evening, Colonial Pipeline had the privilege of providing an update on our response and remediation activities during the Huntersville Board of Commissioners meeting.  We appreciate this opportunity to update the community, as we know the incident has caused inconvenience and concern among our neighbors.

We remain committed to regaining the trust of those with whom we’ve been neighbors in this community for more than 50 years.  Colonial remains steadfast in our priorities of safety and environmental protection and to keeping residents, regulators and the broader public informed, which includes meeting with North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) twice weekly.

 Operational Update

As we shared during the meeting, we recently completed the removal of the impacted pipe segment for metallurgical analysis.  Advance notice of this work was provided to public safety officials, as well as impacted area homeowners, some of whom were offered temporary relocation so our operations and related traffic would not disturb them.

Representatives from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), as well as NCDEQ, were on site to observe the pipe removal; the impacted pipe segment was then sent to an independent laboratory for metallurgical analysis.

The analysis is a key step in determining the cause of the release. In fact, the removal of this segment of pipe was not required, as a permanent sleeve had been installed during the initial emergency response phase of the incident.  However, Colonial took this additional step as part of its commitment to further assess the condition of the pipe and the cause of the release.

 Environmental Update

In addition to operational activities at the site, which will continue over the next several weeks, environmental remediation and recovery work at the site is ongoing.  To date, we have installed more than 100 monitoring and recovery wells.

Colonial continues to coordinate all aspects of the remediation with NCDEQ and is working to file our next required report, a Comprehensive Site Assessment, by the January 20, 2021, deadline.

In the meantime, weekly testing of residential drinking water wells within the 1,500-foot radius established by NCDEQ continues. There have been no detections of any petroleum constituents in any of the water supply well samples. Air and noise monitoring continues.

 Product Volume Estimates

Estimating volumes in an event such as this is an intricate, highly technical process that requires gathering and analyzing technical data from a variety of sources (e.g., geotechnical, metallurgical, operational, environmental), and it takes considerable time to complete.  We are working to collect as much data as possible, and to analyze that data as expeditiously as possible, to ensure the release volumes we share are accurate and verified by multiple models.

We have also engaged third-party experts to provide support to Colonial’s in-house team of experts as we work to revise the estimated released volume.

For additional information on Colonial’s response efforts, please visit our FAQs section, which we will continue to update periodically as a follow-up to questions received.

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UPDATE #17: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, November 5, 2020, 7 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update – Assessment Work Continues

Colonial Pipeline is continuing our environmental assessment and remediation activities at the release site off Huntersville-Concord Road in Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Our focus remains our commitment to the safety of people, environmental protection and respect for community assets.

Colonial has been in constant communication with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) since the response began.  Colonial voluntarily meets with the Department twice per week and provides Department staff with information about Colonial’s remediation and assessment efforts at the site, including details about the volume of gasoline that has been recovered to date from the recovery well network that Colonial has installed.  We also provide the Department with detailed reports on a monthly basis about groundwater sampling results.  Additionally, we continue to have an open dialogue with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg environmental team including stormwater, water supply well, air and other county divisions that are part of the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Colonial’s reports to NC DEQ and other regulatory agencies continue to meet, and in many cases exceed, regulatory requirements for site assessment and remediation.  On Friday, October 30, 2020, Colonial submitted its Initial Assessment Report (IAR) to NC DEQ.  Colonial was not required to submit the report until November 12, 2020, however, provided the detailed report in advance of the deadline so that NC DEQ could begin reviewing the extensive site remediation and assessment data Colonial has gathered.

In the IAR, Colonial noted that, as it had previously discussed with NC DEQ staff, Colonial is in the process of reviewing additional data from the site, and the estimated volume of released gasoline is under review and subject to change, as that additional data is reviewed.  Due to the complex nature of liquid pipeline operations and the geological conditions at the release site, calculating an estimated released volume is an intricate task that requires the thoughtful and detailed analysis of several different data points.

The estimated released volume number that Colonial reported to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in September was based on the best available data at that time.  Since then, Colonial has continued to collect the additional operational and environmental data that is critical to our ability to calculate the estimated released volume.  Colonial has also engaged third-parties who are experts in the field to work collaboratively with our internal resources to analyze all of the data points.  Colonial is committed to providing a revised estimate of the released volume to our regulators as soon as that work is complete.

Environmental Update

As of Tuesday, November 3, 2020, Colonial had installed 100 monitoring and recovery wells at the site.  Sixty of those wells are monitoring wells, and 40 are recovery wells.  Neither monitoring nor recovery wells are used for potable water.  Residential water well sampling for homes within a 1,500-foot radius of the incident location, which is the monitoring radius established by NCDEQ, are completed weekly.  The samples are analyzed by an external laboratory, and there have been no detections of petroleum constituents in any of the samples taken from any of the residential water wells.

Current Operations Actions

 Currently, Colonial is continuing preparation work associated with the removal and replacement of the impacted pipe segment.  The section will be isolated, product will be removed, and the pipeline will be shut down so that work can be completed safely.  As part of this process, in addition to the incident site, two other segments of the pipeline will be excavated.  After the impacted pipe segment is removed, it will undergo laboratory analyses so that Colonial can better understand the cause of the release.

Crews and other personnel will be present at these sites periodically through mid-November.  Residents may also notice excavation equipment and additional truck traffic in the area.  Colonial is communicating directly with residents who live near the work areas to keep them informed.

Colonial remains committed to protecting public safety and restoring the natural environment, while meeting or exceeding all required regulatory standards.

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UPDATE #16: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, October 8, 2020 5:00 PM EST

Assessment Now Underway and Ongoing Environmental Remediation Update

Colonial Pipeline’s response and remediation efforts continue to focus on our commitment to the safety of people, environmental protection, respect for community assets, and continual communication.

In addition to our ongoing site assessment and environmental remediation activities, this week, Colonial began preparation work associated with the removal and replacement of the impacted pipe segment.

Removing the pipe segment will enable Colonial to conduct laboratory analyses, which will help determine what caused the pipe failure.

As this work occurs over the next five to six weeks, residents may notice excavation equipment and additional truck traffic in the area.

Colonial will be communicating directly with residents who live near the work areas.    We appreciate the patience of the community as we continue our assessment, remediation and analysis activities.

Restoration of Oehler Preserve

Colonial will continue site restoration activities in coordination with Mecklenburg County.  As stated previously, Colonial is committed to meeting all state standards as established by the NCDEQ for site remediation and to restoring the natural environment of Oehler Nature Preserve, and any other areas affected by our operational activities.  We will continue to work with local partners to remediate Oehler Nature Preserve, and will expand area partnerships as part of our ongoing Environmental Partners Program.  To find out more about Colonial’s Environmental Partners Program, you can also watch this video.

Current Actions and Environmental Update 

Colonial provides regular updates on the status of our environmental monitoring and remediation efforts to NCDEQ and Mecklenburg County.

As of Thursday, October 8, 2020, Colonial had installed 100 monitoring and recovery wells at the site.

  • 60 of those wells are monitoring wells, and 40 are recovery wells.  Neither monitoring nor recovery wells are used for potable water.
  • When Colonial encounters product in a monitoring or recovery well, product recovery begins immediately in an effort to control and limit any further migration.
  • Colonial also is supplementing our current recovery systems with additional equipment and technologies.
  • We have completed seven rounds of residential water well sampling for homes within a 1,500-foot radius of the incident location, which is the monitoring radius established by NCDEQ. There have been no detections of any petroleum constituents in any of the samples that we have taken from any of the residential water wells.

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