Overview of environmental and hydrogeologic conditions at Barrow, Alaska

Open-File Report 94-322




To assist the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in evaluating the potential effects of environmental contamination at their facility in Barrow, Alaska, a general assessment was made of the hydrologic system is the vicinity of the installation. The City of Barrow is located approximately 16 kilometers southwest of Point Barrow, the northernmost point in Alaska, and therefore lies within the region of continuous permafrost. Migration of surface or shallow- subsurface chemical releases in this environ- ment would be largely restricted by near-surface permafrost to surface water and the upper, suprapermafrost zone of the subsurface. In the arctic climate and tundra terrain of the Barrow area, this shallow environment has a limited capacity to attenuate the effects of either physical disturbances or chemical contamination and is therefore highly susceptible to degradation. Esatkuat Lagoon, the present drink- ing water supply for the City of Barrow, is located approximately 2 kilometers from the FAA facility. This lagoon is the only practical source of drinking water available to the City of Barrow because alternative sources of water in the area are (1) frozen throughout most of the year, (2) insufficient in volume, (3) of poor quality, or (4) too costly to develop and distribute.

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USGS Numbered Series
Overview of environmental and hydrogeologic conditions at Barrow, Alaska
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; USGS Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
iv, 17 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.