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Crude Oil Contamination in the Shallow Subsurface: Bemidji, Minnesota

Map of surface oil areas resulting from the pipeline rupture at the Bemidji Site, Minnesota.
Map of surface oil areas resulting from the pipeline rupture at the Bemidji Crude Oil Spill Research Site, Minnesota. The map delineates areas where the oil pooled in the subsurface, where oil drained, where oil sprayed from the rupture, and where soil was removed.

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Crude oil from a pipeline rupture in 1979 contaminated a shallow aquifer near Bemidji, Minnesota. After initial cleanup, about 110,000 gallons of crude oil remains in the subsurface. This site thus provides a unique opportunity to study a contaminant plume where the location, amount, and timing of the spill are precisely known. The study focuses on how crude oil spreads in soil vapor and ground water. Models have been developed to describe the controlling physical, chemical, and biological processes. These models can be used to evaluate remedial strategies for oil spills, including intrinsic bioremediation.

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  • Comparison of surficial CO2 efflux to other measures of subsurface crude oil degradation: Warren, E., Sihota, N., Hostettler, F.D., and Bekins, B.A., Journal of Contaminant Hydrology (IN PRESS).

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Page Last Modified: Monday, 07-Jul-2014 17:44:14 EDT