USGS Washington Water Science Center
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Since the 1890s, ships have been built, modified, overhauled, repaired, outfitted, supplied, and dismantled at the U.S. Navy’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, on the north shore of Sinclair Inlet. Most of the work has been done at six dry docks. As a consequence of this long history of work, concentrations of some metals and organic compounds in soil and ground water at the shipyard are elevated and in some places exceed regulatory limits. To help evaluate the potential environmental threat of contaminants in the ground water and to help plan remediation work at the shipyard, the Navy needs to know what fraction of ground-water discharge from the eastern part of the facility moves directly to Puget Sound and what fraction moves to the dry docks.
To help the Navy in its assessment of needed environmental remediation, the USGS is using numerical ground-water flow models to determine how much of the ground discharge from the eastern part of the shipyard is to the dry docks and how much discharges directly to Puget Sound. Hydrologists are also estimating the average rates of fresh and salt water drainage to each of the dry docks and determining the salinities and concentrations of selected contaminants in water flowing into and out of the dry docks.