New wetland spills, reported river crossings along Line 3 pipeline construction route


Minnesota regulators say there has been more discharge of drilling fluid along the Line 3 pipeline construction route than previously reported.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, there were 28 releases at 12 river crossings from June 8 to August 5. In one case, on July 6, about 80 gallons of fluid entered the Willow River in Aitkin County.

The MPCA also states that there were 13 wetland spills and 14 accidental releases in the highlands, although one of them flowed into a wetland.

The agency disclosed details of the releases Monday in a letter to Democratic state lawmakers who had requested the information, Minnesota Public Radio reported Tuesday.

The drilling fluid is used as a lubricant. It is composed primarily of bentonite clay and water and is not considered toxic, but may impact aquatic life.

The agency said Enbridge’s license did not allow the discharge of drilling fluid into wetlands or rivers. He says the releases are being investigated as potential violations.

The Calgary-based company said in a statement that the drilling mud had been quickly contained and cleaned up in the vast majority of cases under the supervision of qualified environmental inspectors and independent monitors, and that the spills had been reported to law enforcement authorities. state regulations.

Construction on Line 3 in northern Minnesota is more than 80 percent complete and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, the company said.

Enbridge said its practice of horizontal directional drilling is the preferred construction method for pipelines crossing under water bodies, and that it actually protects water bodies from disturbance. Drilling operations are immediately halted when spills occur and state regulators are notified, he said.


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