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Occurrence, distribution, and concentration of hydrocarbons in and near the Shell Valley Aquifer, North Dakota

May 1, 2000

Water samples from 27 wells completed in and near the Shell Valley aquifer were analyzed for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and pentachlorophenol (PCP) using the enzyme-linked immunoassay method. The analyses indicated the presence of PAH, PCB, and PCP in the study area. However, an individual compound at a high concentration or many compounds at low concentrations could cause the detections. Therefore, selected samples were analyzed using the gas chromatography (GC) method, which can detect individual compounds and determine the concentrations of those compounds. Concentrations for all compounds detected using the GC method were less than the minimum reporting levels (MRLs) for each constituent, indicating numerous compounds at low concentrations probably caused the immunoassay detections. The GC method also can detect compounds other than BTEX, PAH, PCB, and PCP. Concentrations for 81 of the additional compounds were determined and were less than the MRLs.

Four compounds that could not be quantified accurately using the requested analytical methods also were detected. Acetone was detected in 4 of the 27 wells, 2-butanone was detected in 3 of the 27 wells, prometon was detected in 1 of the 27 wells, and tetrahydrofuran was detected in 9 of the 27 wells. Acetone, 2-butanone, and tetrahydrofuran probably leached from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and joint glue and probably are not contaminants from the aquifer. Prometon is a herbicide that controls most annual and many perennial broadleaf weeds and primarily is used on roads and railroad tracks. The one occurrence of prometon could be caused by overspraying for weeds.

Publication Year 2000
Title Occurrence, distribution, and concentration of hydrocarbons in and near the Shell Valley Aquifer, North Dakota
DOI 10.3133/ofr99194
Authors Wayne R. Berkas
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 99-194
Index ID ofr99194
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization North Dakota Water Science Center; Dakota Water Science Center