Environmental Baseline Project

There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth. These microbes and other factors like the presence of methane in coal seams, water and other naturally occurring chemicals like salt, influence the presence and concentration of natural gases in the earth. Even the weather (e.g. amount of water from rain) plays a role.

As part of the Integrated Surat Basin Carbon Capture and Storage Project, CTSCo are undertaking a comprehensive and multi-year Environmental Baseline Project to:

understand what naturally occurring gases and chemicals are present and in what concentrations in the earth of the project area.

For more information about microbes in soil, visit http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/SAG-16

The Environmental Baseline Project is underway and will run until the end of the Project.

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Why do you need to do an Environmental Baseline Project?

The Environmental Baseline Project is about understanding how things are now, so if there are any changes during the future operational phase of the project, CTSCo can conclude why.

By understanding what chemicals and gases are naturally present in the earth at the project site and how these fluctuate over time, CTSCo will be able to accurately determine the cause of any variations in these concentrations and if these are caused by the Integrated Surat Basin Carbon Capture and Storage Project.

Knowing the ‘baseline’ levels and determining the causes of fluctuations means the project can develop the policies and procedures needed to respond to any unexpected changes in the ground gases and chemicals, such as temporarily or permanently stopping the operation of the project.

Environmental Baselining Process

Scientists have installed four monitoring sites across the project area, which involves drilling a number of bores at different depths to collect information using special monitoring equipment down-hole.

This equipment sends readings in real time to a central database via mobile phone technology.

One of the key interests for the project is the soil. It is important to establish a baseline reading of environmental parameters within the existing soil in order to understand the long term trend and variability of the natural occurrences.

Measuring is already underway and will continue for the current phase of the project to late 2018 and then to the mid 2020’s.