Enbridge Fined $3 Million For Minnesota Groundwater Leak

Minnesota regulators have ordered Enbridge (TSX:ENB) to pay more than $3 million U.S. for piercing a groundwater aquifer during construction of its Line 3 oil pipeline.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Enbridge, while working near Clearbrook in January, dug too deeply into the ground and pierced an artesian aquifer, which resulted in a 24 million gallon groundwater leak.

Enbridge said in a statement that it is reviewing the fine and would work with the agency on a resolution. The Calgary-based company said: "We share a strong desire to protect Minnesota waters and the environment and we are committed to restoration."

It wasn't until mid-June that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resrouces discovered something was wrong after speaking to independent construction monitors who had observed water pooling in the pipeline trench near Clearbrook.

The department has ordered Enbridge to put $2.7 million U.S. into escrow for restoration and damage to nearby wetlands. Enbridge is also required to pay $300,000 U.S. to mitigate the lost groundwater and $250,000 U.S. for long-term monitoring of the wetlands.

Enbridge's 340-mile (547-kilometre) Line 3 replacement pipeline will carry Canadian crude oil across northern Minnesota to the company's terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline, opposed by environmental groups, is nearly complete.