Enbridge Fixing Minnesota Aquifer Breach Related to Oil Pipeline Construction

(Reuters) — Enbridge Inc. on Friday said it was working to fix an aquifer breach in rural Minnesota related to the construction of its Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project, which was completed in 2021 and carries Canadian crude to U.S. refineries.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said this was the fourth aquifer breach related to the project.

"Through our ongoing investigation, including review of a series of groundwater reports that the DNR ordered, we have recently confirmed that there is a confined aquifer breach at the site," the agency said in a statement.

The DNR said the groundwater flow at the surface from the latest aquifer breach near Swatara in Aitkin County is "considerably lower" than the flow observed at the other three breach sites.

Calgary-based Enbridge said the aquifer issues did not involve the pipe itself, nor drilling, but related to sheet metal piling typically used in construction to reinforce the trench for worker safety.

"Enbridge is providing a corrective action plan for this location as requested and will implement it upon approval," company spokeswoman Juli Kellner said in an email.

Line 3 is a key part of Enbridge's Mainline system, which ships the bulk of Canadian crude exports to the U.S. and carries 760,000 barrels per day to Midwest refineries.

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