HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Authorities are giving a clearer picture on the cleanup of the largest gasoline spill in the United States.
In a document submitted last year, Colonial Pipeline estimates 2 million gallons of fuel were released in the Oehler Nature Preserve near Huntersville in summer 2020, making it the largest onshore fuel spill in the nation.
Colonial Pipeline is asking state regulators for a permit to move treated water from the nature preserve into a nearby creek.
“This permit will allow Colonial Pipeline to enhance our ongoing recovery and remediation efforts with a system that will safely return treated water to the local watershed while reducing truck traffic at the site. We remain committed to working closely with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, as well as county and town leaders, to ensure our work at the site meets or exceeds all permitting requirements,” the company said.
An underground pipeline burst two and a half years ago, releasing gasoline. Two teens discovered the spill on Aug. 14, 2020 while they were riding ATVs in the nature preserve. Colonial Pipeline said the leak was caused by failed equipment.
Last summer, a judge ordered Colonial to pay a $5 million fine and take corrective action.
The state’s Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing on March 16 at the Central Piedmont Community College campus in Huntersville.
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