Tuesday, 09 October 2012 13:43

Louisiana Bayou Corne sinkhole edge collapses, natural gas trapped, attorney criticizes

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sinkholeMore horror stories about the ever-expanding Louisiana Bayou Corne’s sinkhole that was found August 3, located on property owned by Texas Brine in Assumption Parish and which has resulted in the evacuation of 150 homes. 



Also, more criticism of state and local attorneys from a prominent environmental attorney Stuart Smith who has been following this dangerous and tragic event:

One comes today.  

According to the Advocate, “Cleanup of a sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish was halted until further notice Tuesday morning after another section of edge collapsed, pulling down five trees along the southwest side of the 4-acre depression, parish officials said.

A 50-foot-long section of embankment went under in the vicinity of pipeline corridors that run along western edge of the slurry hole, parish officials said.


There is an  undetermined amount of natural gas is trapped in the aquifer underneath the Bayou Corne community, state and parish officials have said.

The area has been rattled by earth tremors, has waterways with gas bubbling to the surface, and is in the vicinity of a 4-acre sinkhole south of La. 70 that has grown larger since its emergence Aug. 3. Bayou Corne’s 150 households have been evacuated since the sinkhole appeared just off the edge of the Napoleonville Dome, a 1-mile-by-3-mile underground salt deposit.

The Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer is a broad underground belt that tracks the river and flows beneath dozens of Louisiana parishes, but is not a continuously linked formation of ground water.

The aquifer under Assumption Parish is not used as its major water source — Bayou Lafourche is — but some parish officials say they are concerned the odorless, colorless gas underground could accumulate unseen to explosive concentrations if left unchecked….

Meanwhile, DNR and Texas Brine Co. officials have spent weeks drilling into and now plumbing the depths of an underground Texas Brine salt cavern 200 feet to the southeast of the slurry hole near Bayou Corne.

They are trying to see if the cavern inside the Napoleonville Dome is the source of the 475-foot-wide sinkhole.


A sinkhole in Assumption Parish is raising concerns in Acadiana. Crews are digging wells near a four-acre sinkhole beneath Bayou Corne. The wells are being sued to vent and investigate natural gas trapped below the salt brining facility.

Louisiana Senator Fred Mills said in light of this incident, he will try and take action to prevent a similar disaster from happening at the salt domes beneath Lake Peigneur. Mills said he plans to introduce a bill for the second time that would require companies to conduct an environmental impact statement before expanding natural gas storage caverns at Lake Peigneur. A similar bill failed in the last legislative session.

Residents at Lake Peigneur said such legislation would be a relief, but the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association said it would be a set back from the industry.

"This has been home for our family for generations and I'd like to preserve it," said Lake Peigneur resident Louis Derise.



Fears are mounting that the Bayou Cornesinkhole area methane gas could burstthrough the ground with explosive force, according to officials and one of the nation's top environmental legal experts Monday, speaking about what has become a grave violation of health and security human rights.

Local officials told the Advocate that they are very concerned that the odorless and colorless gas is accumulating under theBayou Corne sinkhole area, that includes Grand Bayou and Pierre Part, to the point it could burst through the ground with explosive force.

"I go to sleep thinking about the sinkhole and I wake up in the morning thinking about the sinkhole," young mother of two in Pierre Part, just over the Bayou Corne mandatory evacuation line, Alicia Heilig told Deborah Dupré in an email, highlighting the human rights abuses involved in the event.


In Bayou Corne, workers began this weekend drilling three vent wells. This may eventually relieve some of the pressure — but the mental pressure and anguish for those who own homes in the community must be hard to take. It didn’t have to be this way. State and Texas Brine officials knew about potential problems at the dome more than a year and a half ago, and the state Department of Environmental Quality was painfully slow to respond to the first reports of tremors and bubbling gases this summer. Let’s pray that the efforts to reduce the pressure are not too little — or too late.



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