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.
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.
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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