Coupled Geochemical Impacts of Leaking CO2 and Contaminants from Subsurface Storage Reservoirs on Groundwater Quality

Hongbo Shao, Nikolla P. Qafoku, Amanda R. Lawter, Mark E. Bowden, Christopher F. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The leakage of CO2 and the concomitant brine from deep storage reservoirs to overlying groundwater aquifers is considered one of the major potential risks associated with geologic CO2 sequestration (GCS). In this work both batch and column experiments were conducted to determine the fate of trace metals in groundwater in the scenarios of CO2 and metal-contaminated brine leakage. The sediments for this study were from an unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifer in Kansas, containing 0-4 wt % carbonates. Cd (114 μg/L) and As (40 μg/L) were spiked into the reaction system to represent potential contaminants from the reservoir brine. Through this research we demonstrated that Cd and As were adsorbed on the sediments, in spite of the lowered pH due to CO2 dissolution in the groundwater. Cd concentrations in the effluent were below the Cd MCL, even for sediments without detectable carbonate to buffer the pH. Arsenic concentrations in the effluent were also significantly lower than the influent concentration, suggesting that the sediments tested have the capacity to mitigate the coupled adverse effects of CO2 leakage and brine intrusion. The mitigation capacity of sediment is a function of its geochemical properties (e.g., the presence of carbonate minerals, adsorbed As, and phosphate). (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8202-8209
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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