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Colonial Pipeline issued notice of violation in massive gasoline spill

The August 14 spill involved 273,000 gallons of gasoline along the pipeline in Huntersville.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has issued a citation to Colonial Pipeline in Huntersville over a massive gasoline spill in August. 

The spill leaked 273,000 gallons of gasoline into the ground around the Huntersville-Concord Road area. The pipeline has been repaired and cleanup efforts are underway now. 

“This is one of the largest gasoline spills the state has ever had," DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a statement Friday. "Cleanup will take time, and we will be there every step of the way to ensure Colonial Pipeline protects public health and the environment during their remediation efforts.”

The violation states the August 14 spill leaked benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene that exceed groundwater quality standards.  The Department is requiring Colonial Pipeline to take several steps to ensure public safety and health including restoring groundwater quality to normal standards, submitting detailed monthly reports from soil sampling, water sampling and more and completing a Comprehensive Site Assessment report by January of next year. 

The Department threatened penalties for the company if the deadlines and requirements are not met but did not specify what those penalties could be. 

Earlier this month Colonial Pipeline gave an update on cleanup and recovery efforts at the site.   Huntersville residents spoke up at the meeting to share their concerns. 

Since the spill, Colonial Pipeline says dozens of monitoring wells have been installed surrounding the impacted area along with weekly samplings of surface waters.

The cause of the leak was an equipment failure. Originally, Colonial Pipeline estimated about 63,000 gallons of gasoline was released from the line.  That  figure has since increased exponentially. The company said a majority of the fuel was recovered within the first several weeks of the incident.