Fourth aquifer breach confirmed along Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline corridor

A fourth aquifer breach has been confirmed in connection to the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 The agency said the breach is in a "remote and hydraulically complex site" in northern Minnesota near Swatara in Aitkin County.

State officials said the groundwater flow at the Moose Lake aquifer breach is estimated at 10 to 15 gallons per minute, which is lower than the 100 to 300 gallons per minute initially observed at the three other confirmed aquifer breaches (Clearbrook, LaSalle Creek and Mile Post 1102.5).

The state has ordered Enbridge to develop a corrective action plan to repair the damage.

Enbridge spokesperson Juli Kellner said in a statement: "Aquifer issues on Line 3 did not involve the pipe itself, nor drilling, but related to sheet metal typically used in construction to reinforce the trench for worker safety."

Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline

(Credit Waadookawaad Amikwag) (Supplied)

A citizen scientist organization known as Waadookawaad Amikwag previously commissioned thermal image flyovers of the corridor, where it identified 45 sites along the 355 miles where it suspects more breaches occurred.

The group conducts site visits of suspected problem areas and documents their observations. Photos provided by Waadookawaad Amikwag show a reading of 46 degrees Fahrenheit at the Moose Lake breach site, which it says indicates the water is upwelling from deep underground.

Geologist Jeffrey Broberg, who works alongside Waadookawaad Amikwag, previously shared his concerns with the FOX 9 Investigators.

"We want to make sure that our communities are safe, that if the water has been disturbed and it needs to be restored… if it can't be restored, they need to be accepting responsibility for it in perpetuity," Broberg said.

 Enbridge has already been fined $11 million by the state for the three previously identified aquifer breaches. 


Minnesota DNR: Line 3 work harmed groundwater more than we knew

A Minnesota DNR investigation found damage to public groundwater resources from missteps during construction of the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline is more severe than previously known.