HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – It’s been a while since Colonial Pipeline updated the town of Huntersville regarding the largest gasoline spill in the county.
The public affairs director for the company and representatives for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality updated commissioners on the progress.
In the settlement agreement, Colonial paid $4.5 million to the state of North Carolina and an additional $250,000 in investigation reimbursement. Commissioners wanted to know where the money would go, and the NC DEQ says the money will eventually go to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
There is no guarantee it will make it to schools in Huntersville.
Meg Blackwood, public affairs director for Colonial Pipeline, said the estimated amount of the spill is 2 million gallons, and the company has cleaned up 75% of the spill.
Electric service has been installed at the site, and that move should cut down on the noise caused by the generators. Colonial also informed commissioners the company is applying for a permit to establish deep wells at the site, which will produce a lot of water to help with remediation. The company will clean the contaminated water and then put it back into the environment.
Blackwood says if it’s not done this way, up to 200 trucks daily would be needed.
Commissioners wanted to know how many people had sold to Colonial or reached agreements with the company, which Blackwood could not answer. She says many have signed non-disclosure agreements with the company.
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The big question is how long the clean-up will take.
“Our remediation is not based on gallons released; it’s based on impact on the environment,” answered Blackwood. “So, all of that to say if we release five gallons of gasoline, we wouldn’t just recover five and say we are done. We are going to look at the data at the site and say what does it tell us, how the environment is responding in being remediated. So, we will be there as long as it takes.”
Commissioners are still worried about water quality. An N.C. DEQ spokesperson said part of the consent agreement includes test well 1,500 feet from the spill site weekly and wells 2,000 feet from the site quarterly. So far, no contamination has been discovered.