Cleaning Up the Largest Oil Spill in Twenty Years

This is a map of Colonial Pipeline.  The spill was located in the center.

This is a map of Colonial Pipeline. The spill was located in the center.

Elijah Perkins

On Aug 14th, 2020, some teens reported a cracked gas pipe in Oehler Nature preserve in Huntersville, North Carolina. This pipe had been cracked for an undetermined amount of time and had been spilling large amounts of gas for a while.

 After being reported to the officials, the gas company that owned the pipe, Colonial Pipeline Co., reported that there was an estimated 1.2 millions gallons of gas spilled, this would be the largest gas spill since the year 2000. 

The problem with 1.2 million gallons of gas leaking into the ground is enormous. It’s terrible for nature but the real threat is when it comes into contact with our water supply. 

The gas leaked has many dangerous and cancerous chemicals like benzene, which were found in the nearby water supply.

Some say the leak shouldn’t be blamed on Colonial Pipeline because they have to manage tons of pipes. It would be hard to keep them all in check. Sultana student Madison Grubbs stated, “They should have paid attention to the quality of the pipes.” 

Sultana Student Lino Toral agrees, “The fault falls on whoever built and manages the pipes.”

Colonial Pipeline Co was quick to action and fixed the busted pipe and started collecting the spilled gasoline. So far, they have collected about 1 million gallons. 

Colonial Pipeline Co is also buying any homes within 1500 feet of the spill. They will be testing all water sources close to the spill twice a year now. 

None of this is an excuse though. Colonial Pipeline should have fixed the pipe much sooner to prevent the irreversible damages to nature and people. 

After the pipe was fixed, clean up continued and it seems that most of the nearby water supplies are clean and the pipe won’t be leaking any more.

Hopefully the Colonial Pipeline will be more responsible in the future, and keep track of their pipes, so we can avoid another incident like this.