A major concern about underground methane storage facilities culminates around effects of accidental leakages into shallow aquifers, especially if these are used for drinking water production. Amongst the biogeochemical reactions expected to follow such a leakage, sulfide generation is known to damage water supplies the most. Reduction of sulfate by methane oxidation also occurs in seafloor environments, which is much better known by both field and experimental studies.

Investigating the hydrogeochemical consequences in a shallow aquifer caused by a potential methane intrusion makes parametrization of models describing such processes possible. These findings should be considered at leakage monitoring and risk assessment of subsurface methane operations.

Flow-through column experiments were used to test different sediments percolated by different, methane-enriched groundwaters. These one-year-long experiments showed no significant oxidation of methane by oxygen, nitrate or sulfate, meaning that methane oxidation is inhibited in the studied system and time scale.


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