Environmental specialists from Mecklenburg County Water & Land Resources sampled water from creeks and private wells on November 29 after a petroleum spill from a valve on a gasoline pipeline in western Mecklenburg County.
Employees from the Water Quality Division of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services sampled Paw Creek and surrounding tributaries for Volatile Organic Compounds, a measure of petroleum-based products. First responders say gasoline spilled into a tributary of Paw Creek. The creek flows into the Catawba River and Lake Wylie, a source of drinking water downstream from Charlotte. County environmental specialists are also looking for fish kills or other signs that aquatic life has been impacted by the spill.
Specialists from Mecklenburg County's Groundwater and Wastewater Services Program are identifying private drinking water wells within 1,500 feet of the gasoline release and sampling them as a precaution. Any groundwater contamination may not show up immediately, so County staff will continue to monitor wells in that area over a period of weeks or months as necessary.
The leak was reported November 28 at 7401 Old Mount Holly Road. The Charlotte Fire Department was the first to respond. Firefighters and hazardous materials crews, along with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management and County Water Quality specialists, worked through the night at the scene. The Fire Department declared the leak under control at about 3:30 a.m. on November 29 and turned the incident over to the pipeline owner at about 5 a.m.
Officials have not determined how many gallons of gasoline were spilled. A private company is working to clean up the site, hired by the owner of the petroleum pipeline.
North Carolina's Division of Water Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have also sent specialists to the site to determine the impact to surface water and groundwater.