Researchers will use fieldwork and modeling to determine the effects of CO2 sequestration on groundwater aquifers, EPA said.
"The plan is to see whether CO2 injection could cause changes in reservoir pressure and possibly result in salt water migrating from deeper ground water and contaminating fresh water near the surface," EPA said.
Although underground injection of CO2 for such things as enhanced oil and gas recovery has been going on for years, CO2 injection specifically for geologic sequestration involves different technical issues and potentially larger volumes of CO2 than in the past, EPA noted.
EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act established the Underground Injection Control program to allow the safe injection of fluids into the subsurface in a manner that does not endanger current or future underground sources of drinking water. EPA said it recently proposed new rules to ensure there is a consistent and effective permit system under the SDWA for commercial-scale geologic sequestration.
EPA said it is working with the U.S. Department of Energy as it carries out its carbon sequestration research and development program and is coordinating efforts to evaluate potential impacts on health, safety and the environment.
Exploration of CO2 injection possibilities in Illinois is already under way. DOE announced in April the near completion of drilling of a CO2 injection test well being done by Archer Daniels Midland Co. and project partners in Decatur, Ill.