Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Transient changes in shallow groundwater chemistry during the MSU ZERT CO2 injection experiment

January 1, 2011

Food-grade CO2 was injected into a shallow aquifer through a perforated pipe placed horizontally 1–2 m below the water table at the Montana State University Zero Emission Research and Technology (MSU-ZERT) field site at Bozeman, Montana. The possible impact of elevated CO2 levels on groundwater quality was investigated by analyzing 80 water samples taken before, during, and following CO2 injection. Field determinations and laboratory analyses showed rapid and systematic changes in pH, alkalinity, and conductance, as well as increases in the aqueous concentrations of trace element species. The geochemical data were first evaluated using principal component analysis (PCA) in order to identify correlations between aqueous species. The PCA findings were then used in formulating a geochemical model to simulate the processes likely to be responsible for the observed increases in the concentrations of dissolved constituents. Modeling was conducted taking into account aqueous and surface complexation, cation exchange, and mineral precipitation and dissolution. Reasonable matches between measured data and model results suggest that: (1) CO2 dissolution in the groundwater causes calcite to dissolve. (2) Observed increases in the concentration of dissolved trace metals result likely from Ca+2-driven ion exchange with clays (smectites) and sorption/desorption reactions likely involving Fe (hydr)oxides. (3) Bicarbonate from CO2 dissolution appears to compete for sorption with anionic species such as HAsO4−2, potentially increasing dissolved As levels in groundwater.

Publication Year 2011
Title Transient changes in shallow groundwater chemistry during the MSU ZERT CO2 injection experiment
DOI 10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.241
Authors J. A. Apps, Lingyun Zheng, N. Spycher, J.T. Birkholzer, Yousif K. Kharaka, James J. Thordsen, Evangelos Kakouros, R. Trautz
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70034994
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Western Branch