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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey


Release: December 20, 2002
Contact:
Marijke van Heeswijk
253-428-3600, ext. 2625

John Clemens
253-428-3600, ext. 2635

Risk to Wells Near Bangor Base Low, But Saltwater Problem Possible

[Note: The report can be viewed on the Web at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri024261/ .]

Risk of contaminating public supply wells near the Navy's base at Bangor is low, but future saltwater encroachment in the region is possible, according to a study published today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Because of past activities on Naval Submarine Base Bangor, some sites there have contaminated ground water, which is actively being remediated. To evaluate the risk of contamination reaching nearby public supply wells, the USGS constructed a computer model of the ground-water flow system in central Kitsap County. The computer model was used to test different pumping scenarios and showed that the risk of contaminants reaching the wells is very low.

USGS scientists also used the computer model to evaluate whether regional pumping could pull seawater into the freshwater aquifer. The model showed that, for several pumping scenarios, it is possible for salt water to intrude and eventually enter the wells.

"Our findings indicate that increased ground-water pumping could eventually cause deterioration of ground-water quality," said Marijke van Heeswijk, USGS hydrologist and lead author of the report. "Although we don't have a high degree of certainty about the risk of saltwater encroachment, we know that it is possible."

The report, "Simulation of the Ground-Water Flow System at Naval Submarine Base Bangor and Vicinity, Kitsap County, Washington," by Marijke van Heeswijk and Daniel T. Smith, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4261. The report is available on-line at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri024261/. Copies can be purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0286, telephone 303-202-4200.

The USGS, a bureau within the Department of the Interior, serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

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