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.
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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