A Saskatchewan farm couple whose land lies over a carbon capture reservoir say that gases leaking from the soil are killing animals and sending groundwater foaming to the surface.
The gases were supposed to have been injected permanently underground.
Cameron and Jane Kerr own land above the Weyburn oilfield in eastern Saskatchewan. They released a consultant's report on 18 Jan which links the high concentrations of carbon dioxide found in their soil to the 6,000 tonnes of the gas injected underground each day by energy company Cenovus.
Since 2000, Cenovus has injected about 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide underground to extract more oil from an aging field.
In 2005, the Kerrs noticed odd behaviour in two ponds at the bottom of a gravel quarry on their land. Sometimes, the ponds bubbled. Small animals — cats, rabbits and goats — were regularly found dead a few metres away.
The Kerrs paid a consultant for a study. Paul Lafleur of Petro-Find Geochem found carbon dioxide concentrations in the soil in summer 2010 averaging about 23,000 parts per million — several times those typically found in field soils.
He also used the carbon isotope mix in the gas to deduce its source. He concluded that the CO2 was that which had been injected.