DEQ issues Notice of Violation to Colonial Pipeline for massive gasoline spill in Huntersville


RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste Management issued a notice of violation to Colonial Pipeline for impacts to groundwater quality due to a 273,000-gallon gasoline spill on August 14 in Huntersville. The pipeline has been repaired, and cleanup efforts are underway with oversight by DEQ.

“We will continue to hold Colonial Pipeline accountable for harm to North Carolina’s natural resources,” said DEQ Secretary Michael Regan. “This is one of the largest gasoline spills the state has ever had. 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.”

A copy of the notice of violation can be found at:

The violations identify that the Aug. 14 spill caused the release of constituents of petroleum including, but not limited to, benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene that exceed groundwater quality standards. Corrective actions include:

  • Restore groundwater quality to the standards established in 15A NCAC 02L .0106 for protection of human health and the environment;
  • Submit detailed reports monthly that include soil sampling, surface water and water supply well sampling results, groundwater flow, public water system hook-ups for residents, status of free product recovery efforts, and soil excavation, transportation and disposal records.; and
  • Submit a Comprehensive Site Assessment report by January 20, 2021.

The Department may take further action, including assessing penalties, if the company fails to meet the deadlines and requirements established in the notice of violation.

Out of an abundance of caution, DEQ has also directed that Colonial Pipeline sample its onsite monitoring wells for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, because the encapsulate that was used to minimize flammable vapors was found to contain PFAS compounds.

On Aug. 14, local and state response agencies and Colonial Pipeline responded to reports of liquid product smelling of gasoline in Mecklenburg County’s Oehler Nature Preserve near Huntersville’s town limits. Cleanup efforts have been underway since the spill began. DEQ has a process for site cleanup, which includes required sampling/testing and monitoring based on the evaluation of environmental impacts. To date, there have been 34 recovery wells and 51 groundwater monitoring wells installed, and samples are being collected from both. Soil samples have been collected as well with only those nearest to the leak showing impacts from gasoline products. Colonial Pipeline has estimated that 96,557 gallons of liquid free product has been recovered.

For more information, go to:

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