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Leaking underground CO2 storage could contaminate drinking water
Date:11/11/2010

amined the idea that if CO2 leaked out slowly from deep formations, where might it negatively impact freshwater aquifers near the surface, and why."

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.

The study also identified four markers that scientists can use to test for early warnings of potential carbon dioxide leaks. "Along with changes in carbonate concentration and acidity of the water, concentrations of manganese, iron and calcium could all be used as geochemical markers of a leak, as their concentration increase within two weeks of exposure to CO2," Jackson says.


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Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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