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Size of pipeline spill in North Carolina underestimated for second time

An energy company has again underestimated the amount of gasoline that spilled from a crack in a pipeline running through a North Carolina nature preserve.

The Colonial Pipeline Company issued a statement Friday saying it likely underestimated the size of the spill at 1.2 million gallons. The company did not provide a new estimate.

The company initially reported the size of the spill in September at 273,000 gallons. It revised that estimate upward to 1.2 million gallons in January.

The spill occurred in August where the pipeline crosses the Oehler Nature Preserve north of Charlotte.

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Dionne Delli-Gatti said in a press release Friday that it’s “unacceptable” that the company still can’t accurately assess the size of the spill.

The state is requiring the company to issue a revised assessment by April 26.

Colonial said in its statement that its estimates are driven solely by the data it has available to it at the time.

Colonial believes it has recovered the majority of what was spilled, It has installed nearly 120 wells to aid in the recovery effort. It is also monitoring nearby residents’ wells and has not found signs of contamination there.

The pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the U.S., carrying than 100 million gallons of fuel a day from Houston Texas to New York Harbor.

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