Applying Lessons Learned From MSW and CCR to the Development of Testing and Monitoring Plans for CO2 Storage Projects

March 7, 2023

ccr carbon capture


With climate change becoming a center of attention globally, much focus has pointed toward carbon capture and storage (CCS) in recent years. While USEPA has published general guidance for Class VI permitting, it is still a new permitting challenge for both scientists and regulators alike. Drawing on lessons learned from more familiar and well-developed regulatory frameworks will be beneficial.

In our Technical Bulletin, Applying Lessons Learned From Municipal Solid Waste and Coal Combustion Residuals to the Development of Testing and Monitoring Plans for CO2 Storage Projects, we focus on the testing and monitoring aspect of Class VI permitting and related complexities, including the project’s overall scale, enhanced costs, and enhanced regulatory risk. We discuss the key considerations for developing an effective CCS Testing and Monitoring Plan based on lessons learned from developed MSW and CCR monitoring programs, as well as how early planning and good judgment can help navigate the complexities associated with CCS projects and ultimately reduce those complexities and associated project costs.

Recommendations include meticulous site characterization efforts early in the CO2 storage project and tailoring the monitoring network. The latter includes placing monitoring wells based on multiphase modeling predictions, designing geochemically and geomechanically compatible monitoring wells, and using strategic statistical techniques to analyze and interpret monitoring data.

It is important to remember that for CO2 storage, groundwater monitoring is not intended to be the primary monitoring method for detecting fluid leakage and migration. It is only one of many required testing and monitoring methods. Even so, the monitoring network must be planned and established appropriately and then tightly coordinated with the other testing and monitoring methods to maximize the protection of underground sources of drinking water.


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Posted by Diane Samuels at 9:16 am