Comprehensive Approach for Monitoring and Remediating Petroleum Derived Contaminants in the Arctic: Case Study of the Former NARL Site near Utqiavik, Alaska (Formerly Barrow)
ERDC Hanover United States
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The Arctic region of Alaska has a history of petroleum contamination from repetitive fuel spills and the overuse of petrochemicals. Notably, the presence of the former Naval Arctic Research Laboratory NARL outside the city of Utqiavik, Alaska formerly known as Barrow, resulted in the contamination of local soils and groundwater with petroleum-derived hydrocarbons. Since the NARL closure in 1987, the U.S. Navy primarily has implemented many environmental investigations, remediation, monitoring, and containment strategies. However, the soil and subsurface soil unique to the Arctic complicates traditional remediation techniques as a result of the harsh environment and underdeveloped infrastructure of the remote site. Bioremediation and stimulating the existing microbial community represent attractive methods of decontamination because they are nontoxic and relatively easy to implement. The results from this study offer a comprehensive approach for characterizing petroleum-derived contamination specific to Arctic regions by coupling nondestructive geophysical tools with in situ hydro-biogeochemical methods. The overall goals of this project were to investigate the surface and subsurface soil properties at the former NARL site for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest, monitor the distribution of hydrocarbons, characterize petroleum-derived hydrocarbons, and test various bio- and phytoremediation scenarios both in the laboratory and as a field study.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost
- Environmental Health and Safety