CO2 pumped into basalt formation under Wallula



WALLULA — A test under way at Wallula could indicate whether some of the carbon dioxide blamed for global warming could be locked up underground in basalt rock formations in the Northwest.

Researchers based at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland are injecting liquid carbon dioxide 2,700 below the surface.

The Union-Bulletin reports the pumping started July 17 and about 1,000 tons will be pumped down before the well is capped off and monitored. Researchers hope the CO2 will be mineralized and never return to the atmosphere.

Most of the $12 million project is funding through the Energy Department. The test is being conducted on property owned by the Boise paper mill on the Columbia River about five miles downstream from the Tri-Cities.