RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been notified that Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Best approved the proposed Consent Order filed last week in its entirety. The order holds Colonial Pipeline accountable as the responsible party for the state’s largest gasoline spill, requiring the company to take specific remedial actions and pay nearly $5 million related to the August 2020 fuel release in the Oehler Nature Preserve near Huntersville.
All terms of the order go into effect today. Colonial has agreed to the terms in the proposed Consent Order. DEQ will implement the terms of the order with the full weight of the court to hold Colonial Pipeline accountable.
The company is required to provide an updated estimate of the volume of gasoline released. To date, Colonial has recovered more than 1.4 million gallons of product from the site. In April 2021, DEQ required additional actions when the data showed the previous estimate of 1.2 million gallons was not accurate. Additional terms of the proposed Consent Order include:
- Providing a revised Comprehensive Site Assessment addendum with revised conceptual site model for both the petroleum release and soil contamination;
- Conducting quarterly sampling for PFAS in specific monitoring wells;
- Developing a plan to assess the free product (gasoline) in bedrock, including the construction of 5 to 15 additional bedrock wells;
- Conducting monthly surface water quality sampling and reporting;
- Submitting a Corrective Action Plan and proposed schedule; and
- Continuing monitoring, remedial action and reporting.
The Consent Order includes a civil penalty of $4.5 million plus $250,000 in investigative costs and additional stipulated penalties for failure to perform activities or meet the required schedule. By statute, collected civil penalties are sent to the state’s education fund.
In November 2021, DEQ filed a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief regarding Colonial Pipeline’s obligations to address the release. The signed Consent Order and other documents related to the Huntersville release are available online.
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