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.