Groundwater safety broached at carbon sequestration meeting



DECATUR — Jake Woodward wants to know why the water out of his family’s well has become severely discolored.

He has tried to have the well water filtered. Among other things, he’s concerned about giving his children a bath.

“We don’t drink the water,” Woodward said while showing pictures of water in his family’s bathtub. “It is terrible.”

The timing of when the problems started and the proximity of where he lives off of Reas Bridge Road to drilling for a nearby carbon sequestration project led him to question during a discussion Thursday at Richland Community College whether there is a connection between the two things. The Community Environmental Council organized the meeting.

Hearing the project called an “experiment” has Woodward and his family especially nervous. Woodward isn’t sure if changes in pressure related to carbon dioxide could somehow be behind the water problems.

Yet, those involved with the carbon sequestration efforts said their work likely has no connection with the water problems. About 750,000 tons of carbon dioxide has been injected since November 2011 more than 7,000 feet beneath Archer Daniels Midland Co. property as part of the Illinois Basin Decatur project.

The goal is to have 1 million tons of carbon dioxide injected and safely stored by November.

“We have seen no out-of-bounds conditions whatsoever,” said Rob Finley, leader of the Illinois State Geological Survey sequestration team. The Geological Survey, which is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, is the lead agency in the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium.

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