Potential impacts of leakage from deep CO2 geosequestration on overlying freshwater aquifers.
Carbon Capture and Storage may use deep saline aquifers for CO(2) sequestration, but small CO(2) leakage could pose a risk to overlying fresh groundwater. We performed laboratory incubations of CO(2) infiltration under oxidizing conditions for >300 days on samples from four freshwater aquifers to 1) understand how CO(2) leakage affects freshwater quality; 2) develop selection criteria for deep sequestration sites based on inorganic metal contamination caused by CO(2) leaks to shallow aquifers; and 3) identify geochemical signatures for early detection criteria. After exposure to CO(2), water pH declines of 1-2 units were apparent in all aquifer samples. CO(2) caused concentrations of the alkali and alkaline earths and manganese, cobalt, nickel, and iron to increase by more than 2 orders of magnitude. Potentially dangerous uranium and barium increased throughout the entire experiment in some samples. Solid-phase metal mobility, carbonate buffering capacity, and redox state in the shallow overlying aquifers influence the impact of CO(2) leakage and should be considered when selecting deep geosequestration sites. Manganese, iron, calcium, and pH could be used as geochemical markers of a CO(2) leak, as their concentrations increase within 2 weeks of exposure to CO(2).
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