We’ve had a lot of stuff recently on Greenbang about how carbon capture and storage (CCS) – injecting liqueified carbon underground – might be the only realistic way to make the dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions needed to tackle climate change.
But, as we’ve pointed out before, there is another school of thought that this as yet unproven method might just do more harm than good to the environment.
Now the Amercian Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) is to undertake a project to assess the potential impact underground carbon storage has on the quality of groundwater supplies. The research follows the US, like many other countries, giving the go-ahead to allow CO2 to be liqueified and stored in deep geological deposits, thousands of feet below groundwater layers.
Engineering consultancy MWH has been chosen to to work with the AWWARF on the project and MWH’s Dr John Norton says:
“This technology is not without risks – there is concern that the carbon dioxide will slowly leach out of the underlying formations and degrade water quality by changing the aquifer’s geochemical characteristics. The water agencies are concerned that by addressing one environmental problem, another huge problem will be generated.”
An example of the unintended consequences of new environmental technology cited is the Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether petrol additive used to reduce air emissions, which resulted in groundwater problems due to its solubility.
At this stage the CCS research will still be theoretical, based on a review of both published and unpublished “grey” literature to produce a preliminary report identifying the potential impacts of CCS on groundwater supplies.