Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

P.J. Gerla


Operations at the Akzo Salt Company near Williston, ND, have resulted in saline contamination of the surface and subsurface in the general vicinity of the company property and possibly the surrounding area. The company site lies on the floodplain of Stony Creek and waste salt is buried just north of the plant. The salt dump poses surface and groundwater hazards. A recent flood on the plant site in August of 1993 resulted in groundwater corning into contact with buried salt. Groundwater quality and water level elevation data collected by the North Dakota Health Department, the North Dakota Geological Survey and Akzo indicated that there is contamination of groundwater in the aquifer beneath the Akzo Salt Company property.

Electrical earth resistivity soundings were used to investigate subsurface conditions, such as the general lithology of the area and the vertical and horizontal extent of the salt-contaminated groundwater. These soundings revealed low resistivity values probably produced by the saline groundwater throughout the subsurface .

Water quality data collected at the site indicated there may be two primary sources of contamination; the buried salt pile north of the plant and a former cooling pond located in the southeast section of the company property. A monitoring well on the southeast edge of the property showed significant rising chloride levels, which indicates the cooling pond may be a possible source of contamination. Further investigation also revealed other possible sources of contamination.

Earth resistivity soundings combined with drilling can be a beneficial alternative to drilling alone if conditions are favorable. The information derived from the soundings should help facilitate placement of any additional monitoring wells at the Akzo site.

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