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Clemson University Awarded EPA Grant to Research Potential Drinking Water Contamination From Carbon Sequestration

Release Date: 12/02/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293,

(ATLANTA – Dec. 2, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $900,000 grant to Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., to investigate the potential for the geological sequestration of carbon dioxide to affect underground sources of drinking water. Injecting carbon dioxide into depleted oil or gas fields and underground saline aquifers is increasingly being considered to remove large quantities of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and help address climate change. The research is expected to lead to improved designs for carbon sequestration projects that will protect underground drinking water supplies.

“There is a great deal of interest in sequestration as an option for reducing carbon dioxide emissions,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 Acting Regional Administrator. “This research will help us better understand how to implement this technology while preventing impacts on drinking water supplies.”

Clemson University, in conjunction with Stanford University in California, will conduct laboratory experiments and modeling simulations to investigate the fate of dissolved carbon dioxide in underground geologic formations and to determine possible risks associated with the dissolution of carbon dioxide in underground aquifers. A better understanding of how local and regional scale hydrogeologic characteristics affect the deep injection of carbon dioxide will lead to improved designs of carbon dioxide storage projects, as well as monitoring and remediation strategies to reduce any potential associated risks.

Funding for the grant award was provided through the EPA National Center for Environmental Research’s Science to Achieve Results or STAR program. The STAR program funds research grants and graduate fellowships in numerous environmental science and engineering disciplines through a competitive solicitation process and independent peer review.

More information on the study:

More information on EPA’s STAR program: