Effects of a dual-pump crude-oil recovery system, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA

Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation
By:  and 



A crude-oil spill occurred in 1979 when a pipeline burst near Bemidji, MN. In 1998, the pipeline company installed a dual-pump recovery system designed to remove crude oil remaining in the subsurface at the site. The remediation from 1999 to 2003 resulted in removal of about 115,000 L of crude oil, representing between 36% and 41% of the volume of oil (280,000 to 316,000 L) estimated to be present in 1998. Effects of the 1999 to 2003 remediation on the dissolved plume were evaluated using measurements of oil thicknesses in wells plus measurements of dissolved oxygen in groundwater. Although the recovery system decreased oil thicknesses in the immediate vicinity of the remediation wells, average oil thicknesses measured in wells were largely unaffected. Dissolved-oxygen measurements indicate that a secondary plume was caused by disposal of the pumped water in an upgradient infiltration gallery; this plume expanded rapidly immediately following the start of the remediation in 1999. The result was expansion of the anoxic zone of groundwater upgradient and beneath the existing natural attenuation plume. Oil-phase recovery at this site was shown to be challenging, and considerable volumes of mobile and entrapped oil remain in the subsurface despite remediation efforts.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of a dual-pump crude-oil recovery system, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA
Series title Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation
DOI 10.1111/gwmr.12040
Volume 34
Issue 1
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, Central Water Science Field Team
Description 11 p.
First page 57
Last page 67
Country United States
State Minnesota
City Bemidji
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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