Ground-water contamination by crude oil, and other petroleum- based liquids, is a widespread problem. An average of 83 crude-oil spills occurred per year during 1994-96 in the United States, each spilling about 50,000 barrels of crude oil (U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety, electronic commun., 1997). An understanding of the fate of organic contaminants (such as oil and gasoline) in the subsurface is needed to design innovative and cost-effective remedial solutions at contaminated sites. A long-term, interdisciplinary research project sponsored by the U.G. Geological Survey (USGS) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program began in 1983 at a crude-oil spill site near Bemidji, Minnesota (fig. 1). The project involves research by scientists from the USGS and several academic institutions. This research is directed toward understanding the physical, chemical, and biological processes controlling the migration and fate of hydrocarbon contaminants in the subsurface. The goal is to provide information and methods to help evaluate the potential for, and long-term performance of, natural and enhanced bioremediation of hydrocarbon contamination across the nation.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library