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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Toxics Program Remediation Activities

Natural Attenuation of a Crude-Oil Spill

  • Site Characterization
  • Natural Attenuation Evaluation

Cass Lake, Minnesota

Technology To be determined
  • Hydrocarbons, Crude Oil
  • BTEX

Knowledge and expertise obtained from research at the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program Bemidji Crude-Oil Spill Research Site, Minnesota, are being applied at a crude-oil spill site near Cass Lake, Minnesota. Leaks at a crude-oil pipeline pumping station created a pool of oil on top of the water table in the subsurface, and a corresponding plume of dissolved constituents in ground water. Objectives of the study are to:

  1. Characterize the three-dimensional extent of the ground-water contaminant plume;
  2. Characterize the redox zones and microbial populations with in the plume and estimate plume scale biodegradation rates;
  3. Estimate ground-water recharge and evaluate the possible effects of focused recharge on enhanced biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons; and
  4. Evaluate the site's natural attenuation capacity.

Results of the study will extend and supplement results from previous data collection studies conducted by Enbridge Energy Company and its consultants. Improved knowledge of the biodegradation rates at the site will provide the Leech Lake Band of the Ojibwe with information needed to assess the rate of migration of petroleum hydrocarbons and the potential for off-site transport of contaminants, and to determine how best to proceed with remediation and management of the Cass Lake crude-oil spill site.

More Information
  • Geoffrey N. Delin, USGS, Mounds View, MN,
Publications In progress

Toxics Program Hydrocarbon Remediation Projects

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Page Last Modified: Friday, 17-Jun-2016 14:22:42 EDT