Source: NC Newsline
State regulators have cited Colonial Pipeline for discharging MTBE, a toxic gasoline additive, at levels 312% above its permit limit from the company’s tank farm in Greensboro. It is the third such violation in less than 18 months.
The most recent exceedances occurred in February 2023 and were included in the EPA’s latest compilation of violations, available through ECHO-Notify, a free email service. Previous violations happened in February and March 2022, state records show.
MTBE is a flammable liquid that was widely used as an additive for unleaded gasoline. Chronic exposure to MTBE can cause dizziness, irritate the throat, cause headaches and nausea, and harm the liver and kidneys. The compound has been found to cause cancer in animals, but it’s uncertain if that effect extends to humans.
Colonial’s water quality permit limits the amount of MTBE that can be discharged at 19 parts per billion, both as a daily maximum and monthly average. In February 2023, the daily maximum reached 78.3 ppb — more than 300% above the allowable maximum. Likewise, the monthly average of 35.5 ppb exceeded the permit limit, state records show.
In February 2022, the daily maximum reached 45 ppb, more than 200% legally allowed. Lower levels were recorded in March 2022, but still above the permit limit.