The characterization of contaminated sites requires that direct investigations be supplemented with a suitable set of less-invasive, and more extensive, measurements. A combination of geophysical methods and direct push penetrometric techniques has been recently proposed as the backbone of site characterization within the EU FP7 project ModelPROBE. Here we present the first results of the investigations conducted at a field site in Trecate (NW Italy) which was affected in 1994 by crude oil contamination from a well blowout. The investigations include surface GPR, ERT, IP, SIP and SP surveys, together with direct push sampling and EC logs and limited cross-hole measurements. Many of the geophysical measurements have been conducted in time-lapse mode in order to separate static and dynamic signals, the latter particularly linked to strong seasonal changes in water table elevations. The goal is to identify (a) the structural characteristics that controlled the contaminant penetration into the subsurface and its current possible movements, and (b) assess possible correlation between measured geophysical properties and contamination levels and/or biodegradation of contaminants. Our preliminary results help provide a reasonable description of the contaminant infiltration mechanisms into the subsurface, while further analyses are necessary to establish a direct link with contamination and biodegradation.


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