Drilling mud cleanup complete at Willow River HDD site

July 13, 2021

On July 6, 2021, Enbridge reported an inadvertent return after of a small amount of drilling fluid reached the surface during a horizontal directional drill (HDD) procedure at the Willow River in Aitkin County, Minnesota. Drilling fluid is non-toxic and primarily made up of naturally occurring bentonite clay and water and is approved for use by the DNR and PCA. It also includes xanthum gum, which is a common food additive often used in gluten free baking.

There were no impacts to any aquifers nor were there downstream impacts because environmental control measures were installed at this location.

Upon identifying the inadvertent return, the drilling operation was immediately shut down and crews followed the procedure for managing containment and cleanup of material as specified in Project permits. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were also notified.

Clean up of the of the affected area was completed under the supervision of trained environmental inspectors and third-party agency monitors.