Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Edward C. Heyse, PhD


This study had two objectives: (1) to determine the extent of metal mobility within petroleum-contaminated aquifers, (2) to determine if biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons can explain metal mobility. The approach reviewed analytical results from 2305 groundwater sampling events, taken from 958 wells, located at 136 sites found at 53 Air Force installations. The study showed that high levels of metals are present at petroleum hydrocarbon sites where metals would not generally be expected. Of the metals with drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), mercury and silver were detected the least frequently. Barium and copper were detected at the sites, but fewer than 2.5 percent of the samples exceeded their MCLs. All other metals exceeded their MCLs in at least 2.5 percent of the samples, with antimony and lead exceeding their MCLs in 19 percent and 10 percent of samples, respectively. Higher concentrations of barium and manganese were most strongly correlated with petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, and relatively strong correlations also existed for aluminum, arsenic, iron, and lead. Major cations such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium were least affected by petroleum hydrocarbons concentrations.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number