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Ground-water contamination by crude oil at the Bemidji, Minnesota, research site; US Geological Survey Toxic Waste--ground-water contamination study

Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4188

Edited by:
M.F. Hult

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey has begun a research project to improve understanding of the mobilization, transport, and fate of petroleum contaminants in the shallow subsurface and to use this understanding to develop predictive models of contaminant behavior.

The project site is near Bemidji in northern Minnesota where an accidental spill of 10,500 barrels of crude oil occurred when a pipeline broke on August 20, 1979. Regulatory and remedial actions have been completed. The site is in a remote area with neither man-made hydraulic stresses nor other anthropogenic sources of the compounds of interest. The spill is in the recharge area of a local flow system that discharges to a small closed lake approximately 1,000 feet down the hydraulic gradient. The aquifer is pitted outwash dissected by younger glacial channels and is underlain by poorly permeable till at a depth of about 80 feet. Ground water dissolves oil floating on the water table under the spill site and moves toward the lake. At the water table, ground water enters the lake through lacustrine sediments; at depth, flow may be underneath the lake through the outwash. Contaminant transport has been as rapid as 4 feet per day based on the rate of movement of contaminants monitored through wells installed within a few days of the spill, but average rates are undoubtedly much less.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Ground-water contamination by crude oil at the Bemidji, Minnesota, research site; US Geological Survey Toxic Waste--ground-water contamination study
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
84-4188
Year Published:
1984
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
St. Paul, MN
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center
Description:
x, 107 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Minnesota
City:
Bemidji
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N