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.