Wednesday, 10 October 2012 10:50
Smell, health issues reported at Bayou Corne sinkhole in Louisiana
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sinkhole3According to the environmental group, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, (LEAN), there is an odor emanating from the Bayou Corne sink hole area and people have complained of various health ailments.

 

The sink hole which developed on August 3, 2012 continues to have sloughing events, in fact, Wednesday morning, a a  section of ground measuring 50 feet by 10 feet along the southwest side of the sink hole fell in.  Between 5 and 10 trees fell into the sink hole.

LEAN has stated that ”activities in association with the Texas Brine failed cavern, sink hole and natural gas in the aquifer could continue to results in health impacts associated with odor events”.

Here is the newsletter from LEAN:

 

In a e-newsletter published by LEAN, 

A sink hole developed in the Bayou Corne area of Assumption Parish on August 3, 2012.  The sink hole is adjacent to the edge of the Napoleonville Salt Dome and adjacent to an abandoned Texas Brine salt mining cavern in the Napoleonville Salt Dome.  The abandoned Texas Brine cavern was breached and failed.  The bottom of the failed Texas Brine Cavern is filled with 1,500 feet of dark gray shale like sediment material which resembles wet cement.  The top of the cavern contains crude oil and natural gas.  The potential source of the crude oil and natural gas in the failed cavern is from one or more of the three oil and gas production zones adjacent to the edge of the salt dome at a depth of 3, 000 to 6,000 feet.      

A hydrocarbon layer is floating on the water surface and vegetative debris in the sink hole.   At a community meeting last night in Bayou Corne, the hydrocarbon layer floating on the sink hole was identified as crude oil and was identical to the crude oil contained in the Texas Brine cavern.  The only difference in the crude oil is that the crude oil in the sink hole has the light end fraction degraded.

 

Photo from Assumption Parish flyover 10/4/12 

 

As the sink hole developed, the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou community began complaining of odors and associated health impacts.  Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) developed an Odor and Symptom Log For Use in Association with the Bayou Corne Incident and posted the Odor and Symptom Log on the LEAN web site.

click here to view Odor and Symptom Log

Analysis of air samples in the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou area by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality demonstrated that the concentrations of toxic chemicals in the air, including Volatile Organic Compounds such as Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene, were below the Louisiana Ambient Air Standards.  However, though the concentrations of toxic chemicals were  below acceptable standards, health symptoms continue to be experienced and reported by community members.         
Locations where odors and health symptoms were reported by community members: Highway 70 between Bayou Corne and Gator Corner/Stop
Highway 70 and Gumbo Street
Highway 70 between Gumbo Street and Gator Corner/Stop
Gator Corner/Stop
Gumbo Street
Sauce Piquante
Crawfish Stew Street

Time Odors were observed 6:30 AM and 9 PM

Description of Odors Diesel
Tar 
Gas
Burning Trees

Source of Odors Sink Hole
Drilling Operations

Health changes associated with odor event
84% of individuals reporting odors, experienced health impacts associated with the odor events

Health Symptoms 

Headaches                           68%
Sore Throat                         53%
Nose Irritation                     21%
Burning and Watery Eyes   21%
Fatigue                               16%
Mood Changes                   11%
Coughing                             5%
Nose  Bleed                          5%
Skin Irritation                       5%
Sleep Disorder                      5%
Lightheadedness                   5%
Behavioral Upset                  5%
Fatigue                                 5%     

Ongoing Activities


Activities in association with the Texas Brine failed cavern, sink hole and natural gas in the aquifer could continue to results in health impacts associated with odor events.

Texas Brine will recover the crude oil hydrocarbons contained in the failed cavern and an oil reclaimer will remove and process the marketable crude oil. 

Texas Brine will continue removing vegetative debris and the hydrocarbon layer from the sink hole.

The sink hole continues to have sloughing events.  The latest sloughing event occurred on October 9, 2012, at 8:30 AM when a  section of ground measuring 50 feet by 10 feet along the southwest side of the sink hole fell in.  Between 5 and 10 trees fell into the sink hole.

The Shaw Group under contract with the Department of Natural Resources will begin flaring natural gas from two relief/vent wells.  The relief well #2 has a 5 foot natural gas column near the top of the shallow groundwater aquifer.  A well on Texas Brine leased property contains a 10 foot natural gas column.  The gas from these two wells will be flared through a single portable flare as early as Friday.  Based on investigative information, the highest quantity of natural gas near the top of the shallow aquifer is nearest the sink hole.  It is estimated that the flaring of the gas from these two wells will have no impact on the gas bubbling events occurring in the bayous in the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou area.  

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