Long-term natural attenuation of crude oil in the subsurface

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The time frame for natural attenuation of crude oil contamination in the subsurface has been studied for the last 27 years at a spill site located near Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. Data from the
groundwater contaminant plume show that dissolved benzene concentrations adjacent to the oil decreased by 50% between 1993 and 2007. To assess how this decrease is related to benzene
concentrations in the crude oil, samples of oil were bailed from floating oil in five wells and analysed for volatile components. Compared to reference oil collected from the pipeline in 1984, benzene
concentrations in the well located farthest downgradient in the oil have decreased an average of 50%. Benzene and ethylbenzene depletion are linearly correlated with oil saturation in the pore space
suggesting that dissolution is the primary removal mechanism and biodegradation within the oil body is insignificant.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Long-term natural attenuation of crude oil in the subsurface
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher International Association of Hydrologic Sciences
Publisher location Zurich, Switzerland
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Eastern Branch, National Research Program - Western Branch, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, Hydro-Ecological Interactions Branch
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Groundwater management in a rapidly changing world: Proceedings of the 7th international groundwater quality conference
First page 123
Last page 127
Conference Title 7th International Groundwater Quality Conference
Conference Location Zurich, Switzerland
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