EPA Approves Permits to Begin Construction of Wabash Carbon Services Underground Injection Wells in Indiana’s Vermillion and Vigo Counties
CHICAGO (Jan. 24, 2024) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued permits that allow Wabash Carbon Services LLC to construct two wells for the eventual injection and permanent storage of carbon dioxide underground, one at a site in Vermillion County and another in Vigo County, Indiana. Following extensive review and public engagement, EPA determined that the wells meet all requirements for initial approval, including stringent safety measures. Once the wells are constructed, the applicant will require separate approval from EPA before underground injection of carbon dioxide can begin, and the agency will maintain robust oversight. These underground injection wells will be used to store carbon dioxide from nearby fertilizer production that has been captured prior to release to the atmosphere, reducing emissions that contribute to climate change.
“After a thorough technical review and engagement with the public, including consideration of over 1,000 public comments, EPA has determined that the two proposed wells meet public health and safety requirements to move forward,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Today’s action will help reduce industrial carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change while protecting nearby communities and essential groundwater resources in Vermillion and Vigo counties. We look forward to continued engagement with these communities as construction proceeds.”
The process of storing carbon underground to reduce emissions into the atmosphere is known as “carbon sequestration.” If and when EPA authorizes the start of injection, Wabash Carbon Services plans to inject up to 1.67 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year into the wells over an injection period of 12 years. Wabash is required to continuously monitor and fulfill reporting requirements—during the 12 years of proposed carbon dioxide injection and 10 years thereafter—to ensure that the injection wells work properly, the carbon dioxide does not move from its injected location and drinking water sources are protected.
The well sites were selected following extensive research to ensure the carbon dioxide can be safely stored in the rock formations about 5,000 feet below the ground. Studies of the site show that there is about 2,100 feet of solid rock, including very low-permeability shale, between the deepest source of drinking water in the area and the proposed carbon dioxide reservoir below, creating an effective and impermeable confining zone.
EPA follows guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality to ensure that the advancement of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies are done in a responsible manner that incorporates the input of communities and reflects the best available science. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA has developed specific and rigorous criteria to protect underground sources of drinking water from carbon dioxide stored underground. EPA will continue to facilitate extensive public engagement around carbon sequestration projects under the Safe Drinking Water Act.