Update #30: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, September 03, 2021 – 3:30 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

As Colonial Pipeline Company continues our remediation and recovery efforts at the site of an August 2020 release near Huntersville, North Carolina, safety remains a central focus and is embedded in every aspect of our response.  We continue to work closely with local, state and federal regulators and communicate with key stakeholders to keep them informed of our activities and update them on our progress.

Recovery Efforts

Our extensive network of monitoring and recovery wells continues to inform our ongoing recovery and remediation efforts.  As of August 23, 2021, we have installed 284 wells to support environmental remediation, including 109 monitoring and 79 recovery wells.  Data from these wells continues to show that product remains contained in the general vicinity of the release location.

As Colonial reported earlier this week to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) as of August 23, 2021, Colonial had recovered approximately 29,833 barrels of product.

Our priorities remain safely recovering product and restoring the area and surrounding environment.

Environmental Update

Earlier this year, Colonial worked with NCDEQ’s Department of Air Quality and Mecklenburg County Air Quality to install an ambient air sampler at the site.  Any compound concentrations contained in samples collected between April 4 and July 27, 2021 were below the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATDSR) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines. The information on Air Quality Monitoring is available on the NCDEQ website.  Colonial was also honored to receive a Mecklenburg County ACE Award for ongoing Air Compliance Excellence at our Charlotte Delivery Facility.  This marks the eighth year in a row that Colonial has received this award.

We remain diligent in our water monitoring efforts and continue to conduct weekly tests of water supply wells of homes within the 1,500-foot monitoring radius established by NCDEQ and biannual testing of water supply wells located between 1,500 and 2,000 feet from the release point. No petroleum constituents have been detected in any of the water supply well samples that have been analyzed since the release occurred.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to human and environmental health and safety. These priorities continue to guide our day-to-day operations as a company and our response in Huntersville and Mecklenburg County.

Questions? Please submit them here, and we will respond to you in a timely manner.

(Updated September 15, 2021)

# # #

 

Update #29: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, August 10, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Over the past year, Colonial Pipeline Company has made considerable progress in recovering free product from the subsurface and remains accountable and committed to staying onsite for as long as it takes to safely remediate the area.  The safety of human health and the environment has been and will continue to be the foundation of our recovery and remediation efforts.

Recovery Efforts

As part of our product recovery and remediation process, Colonial has deployed a network of recovery and monitoring wells that aid in product recovery efforts and provide data guiding our operations. Our product recovery efforts are ongoing, and as of July 20, 2021, Colonial has installed 274 wells to support environmental remediation, including 69 recovery wells and 109 monitoring wells at and around the release location.

As of July 27, 2021, Colonial has recovered approximately 29,173 barrels of product and we continue to utilize a series of monitoring wells at different depths located around the perimeter of the site to assess groundwater quality.  Information collected from those wells indicates that product remaining is contained to the general vicinity of the release location, and there is no evidence of free product in the perimeter wells.

To supplement our recovery and remediation efforts, Colonial will be drilling additional monitoring wells into deep bedrock at the site this week.  This work, which is being performed by Colonial under the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, will provide valuable additional information about the site, which will help further refine ongoing remediation plans. We anticipate that this work will take approximately three weeks to complete.

While this work is in progress, there may be additional workers and equipment at the site, as well as a difference in the type of sounds coming from the site. To minimize impacts on our neighbors, we will limit operational hours for these activities to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Environmental Update

In addition to product recovery efforts, Colonial continues to sample water supply wells on a weekly basis within the 1,500-foot monitoring radius established by NCDEQ, along with biannual testing of wells located between 1,500 and 2,000 feet from the release point. These tests are performed by a third party, submitted under chain of custody to NCDEQ certified labs, and shared with the homeowner and state regulators.

No petroleum constituents have been detected in water supply well samples. Colonial has also conducted regular environmental monitoring, such as surface water sampling and noise monitoring, and will continue to do so as long as we are onsite.

Colonial is immensely grateful for the efforts of all our local, state, and federal regulators who have been involved in the response to-date. We continue to work closely with the appropriate regulators and always aim to communicate openly with key stakeholders to provide updates on progress as we continue the response effort.

Our Commitment

We understand and regret any inconvenience this event has caused, and we are committed to being here for as long as it takes to safely remediate the area and also remain committed to earning back the trust of the community that has been our neighbors for more than 50 years.

For a video of our response overview, click here.

###

Update #28: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, July 1, 2021 – 3:30 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

As Colonial Pipeline Company continues our remediation and recovery efforts at the site of a release event outside of Huntersville, North Carolina, safety remains a central focus and is embedded in every aspect of our response.  We continue to work closely with local, state and federal regulators and communicate with key stakeholders to keep them informed of our activities and update them on our progress.

Recovery Efforts

Data collection from a growing network of monitoring and recovery wells, and other measurements, continues to inform our ongoing recovery and remediation efforts. To date, Colonial has installed 177 wells to support environmental remediation, including 108 monitoring and 69 recovery wells at and around the release location.  The well network includes a series of wells at different depths located around the perimeter of the site. Information collected from those wells continues to indicate that product remains contained to the general vicinity of the release location, and there is no evidence of free product in the perimeter wells.

As shared in the June monthly report to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), as of June 16, 2021, Colonial has recovered approximately 28,078 barrels of product. We expect to have recovered more than our previous release estimate of 28,571 barrels within a week. We continue to evaluate alternative methods to estimate the total volume released.  Those methods are complex and require multiple data points and assumptions, and the calculations from those models must be validated and reviewed.

Completion of site models, assessments, remedial design or ongoing remediation efforts are not dependent on, nor affected by, an updated estimated release volume. Our priority remains continuing to safely recover product and to restoring the area and surrounding environment.

Environmental Update

We have continued to conduct weekly tests of water supply wells for homes within the 1,500-foot monitoring radius established by NCDEQ and we have committed to biannual testing of wells located between 1,500 and 2,000 feet from the release point. 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 water supply well samples. Environmental monitoring, including air quality and noise, continues.

Colonial remains committed to protecting human health and the environment and we will be here for as long as it takes to recover product and safely remediate this area.

# # #

Update #27: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, May 28, 2021 – 2 PM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Colonial Pipeline Company continues to make progress recovering product at the site of the August 2020 release, with data collection from a growing network of monitoring and recovery wells, and other measurements, informing our ongoing recovery and remediation efforts.

A network of 168 wells has been installed over the past nine months, which includes a series of wells at different depths located around the perimeter of the site. Information collected from those wells indicates that product remains contained to the general vicinity of the release location, and there is no evidence at this time of free product in the perimeter wells.

As previously noted, we have reported that additional data, including the results of a geological analysis completed last month, show there are areas where product is located deeper than originally modeled. We anticipate product can be recovered with the existing remediation technology utilized at the site, and we have made adjustments to our plan as needed.

The additional data also brings more clarity to where the product is located and therefore assists in safely recovering product and remediating the site, which remains our top priority. This data also shows our recovery plan is working as designed; however, it does not indicate the volume of product located deeper in the soil.

Previous environmental modeling estimated that a total of 28,571 barrels of product were released from the pipeline in August. As of May 25, 2021, we have collected 27,217 barrels.  Based on continued recovery rates, we have notified the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) that the previous volume estimate will likely be exceeded.  Each volume estimate that Colonial has provided since discovering the release has been based on the best available data at that time, and we will continue to follow the science and communicate what we find with the public and our regulators.   We will also continue to provide NCDEQ updates of volume recovered on a regular basis.

Conducting an updated environmental assessment of the total volume released would require halting product recovery for a period of time, possibly several weeks.  We believe that doing so would not be in the best interest of protecting human health and the environment and would impair the goal of completing product recovery as quickly and safely as possible to minimize the risk of migration.

Colonial continues to evaluate alternative methods to estimate the total volume released.  Those methods are complex and require multiple data points and assumptions, and the calculations from those models must be validated and reviewed. Because of those complexities, and the potential adverse impact of halting recovery efforts, we have notified NCDEQ that we are unable to provide an updated volume estimate at this time as we continue to focus on safely recovering product.

An updated estimated release volume is not needed to complete the conceptual site model or the Comprehensive Site Assessment, and has no impact on remedial design and ongoing remediation efforts.  Colonial has collected more than 600 surface and water supply well samples since last August.  No petroleum constituents have been detected in those water supply well samples.  In addition, none of the surface water samples have exceeded applicable state standards.  Environmental monitoring, including air quality and noise, continues.

Colonial remains committed to protecting human health and the environment and is taking full accountability for remediation of this location.  We will be here for as long as it takes to safely remediate this area.

(Updated June 3, 2021)

# # #

Update #26: Colonial Pipeline – SR2448 Response, April 16, 2021 – 9:45 AM EST

Colonial Pipeline Update

Over the past few months – working in consultation with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and local Mecklenburg County officials – Colonial Pipeline Company has made significant progress recovering product at the site of an August 2020 release from the pipeline outside of Huntersville, North Carolina.

In addition to our ongoing recovery and remediation activities, in January 2021, in consultation with NCDEQ, Colonial began mapping the subsurface geology to aid in establishing the bounds of the product migration area.  This geological analysis, called Optical Image Profiling (OIP), is a 3D model of the subsurface (similar to an X-ray or MRI) that uses ultraviolet light and subsurface probes to detect hydrocarbons in soil.  Colonial proactively initiated this OIP process to further enhance our understanding of the subsurface geological conditions and will utilize this information to maximize our recovery efforts.

Colonial received the results of this work this week, and a preliminary analysis of the data indicates that, while the product appears to remain contained to the general vicinity of the release location and previously delineated product area, there are zones where product is located deeper in the soil than originally modeled.  We anticipate that this product can be recovered using the existing remediation technology currently being utilized at the site, and we will make adjustments to our plan if needed.

Colonial’s environmental team has already begun working with external, third-party geological experts to analyze the OIP data and will reevaluate the estimated release volume.  As a result of receiving this data, Colonial has also notified NCDEQ that additional time is needed to finalize the revised Comprehensive Site Assessment report, ensuring this important document contains the most up-to-date and complete site data.

Each volume estimate that Colonial has provided since discovering the release has been based on the best available data at that time.  That said, while the estimated release volume may be revised as a result of this new data, we will continue to follow the science and communicate what we find with the public and our regulators.  Colonial remains committed to taking full accountability for remediation of this location, and deploying the required resources to protect human health and the environment.  We will be here for as long as it takes to safely remediate this area.

Environmental Update

As of Monday, April 12, Colonial has recovered 24,512 barrels of the previously estimated 28,571 barrels representing approximately 85 percent of that estimate.  Ongoing volume recovery indicates the majority of product is being recovered, and the environmental plan is working as designed.

Colonial is recovering the product through an extensive network of recovery and hydraulic wells. In total, there have been 118 wells installed to support product recovery efforts.  Additionally, Colonial has collected more than 600 surface and drinking water well samples since last August, and there has not been any detection of petroleum constituents in those collections.

Crews have also spent the past several weeks restoring the right of way and surrounding area in the Oehler Nature Preserve, where grass is now growing around work areas and pathways, and trees have started to bloom for season.

Right-of-Way photo taken April 8, 2021. 

Colonial 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 remain committed to protecting public safety, restoring the natural environment, and meeting or exceeding all regulatory requirements.

# # #

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.

# # #

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.

#  # #

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.

# # #