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Ground-water contamination by crude oil at the Bemidji, Minnesota, research site- An introduction: Chapter A in Ground-water contamination by crude oil at the Bemidji, Minnesota, research site; US Geological Survey Toxic Waste--ground-water contaminati

July 19, 1984

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. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 1984
Title Ground-water contamination by crude oil at the Bemidji, Minnesota, research site- An introduction: Chapter A in <i>Ground-water contamination by crude oil at the Bemidji, Minnesota, research site; US Geological Survey Toxic Waste--ground-water contaminati
DOI 10.3133/wri844188A
Authors
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 84-4188
Index ID wri844188A
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Minnesota Water Science Center