Leaking Underground Carbon Storage Schemes Could Contaminate Drinking Water Aquifers

uvas reservoir photo
photo: the_tahoe_guy/Creative Commons

Add another important concern to the those surrounding carbon capture and storage schemes: A new study published in Environmental Science & Technology, done by scientists at Duke University, shows that CO2 stored deep underground could bubble up into drinking water aquifers, increasing levels of contaminants.

[Robert] Jackson and his postdoctoral fellow Mark G. Little collected core samples from four freshwater aquifers around the nation that overlie potential CCS sites and incubated the samples in their lab at Duke for a year, with CO2 bubbling through them.

After a year's exposure to the CO2, analysis of the samples showed that "there are a number of potential sites where CO2 leaks drive contaminants up tenfold or more, in some cases to levels above the maximum contaminant loads set by the EPA for potable water," Jackson says. Three key factors - solid-phase metal mobility, carbonate buffering capacity and electron exchanges in the overlying freshwater aquifer - were found to influence the risk of drinking water contamination from underground carbon leaks. (Science Codex)

Not much more to say on that one, but to remind everyone that the list of problems with siphoning off carbon emissions from power plants and storing them at the scale required, for the length required, and with the environmental security required to make a big impact in stopping climate change is, um, problematic to say the least.

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More on Carbon Sequestration:
Important! Why Carbon Sequestration Won't Save Us
Biochar Offers Answer for Healthy Soil and Carbon Sequestration
Carbon Capture and Storage Will Happen - Here's Why We Should Support It

Tags: Carbon Emissions | Carbon Sequestration | Global Warming Solutions


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