Sinkhole Cavern Breaching, Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons could have breached the failing cavern from the bottom of it and hydrocarbons on top of the hole comprise approximately 75% of it, according to officials and investigators at the 29 Sept. 2012 Bayou Corne Resident Briefing in Assumption Parish about the sinkhole that has now expanded to four acres.

There is gas in there, as well as a hydrocarbon interface. That’s all we know right now, we haven’t been able to sample that,” said Shaw Group spokesperson Brian Davis.

(Watch Brian Davis, Shaw Group presentation at 29 Sept. 2012 Resident Briefing embedded on this page.)

“It could be naturally occurring hydrocarbons that have breached in from the bottom,” Davis said, later adding, “There’s hydrocarbons of some sort over in the sinkhole.”

The Shaw Group has been contracted for relief well work at the sinkhole.

A DEQ official said that the hydrocarbon on top of the slurry hole is “about, let’s say, 75% diesel range, and another 25% oil range organics.” (Watch Part 6 at 0:15 here)

Assumption Parish President Mike Waguespack stated,We knew when they got into the cavern that the bottom had been compromised.”

Waguespack explained that “the bottom obviously had infiltration from somewhere that originally wasn’t there, originally it was brine.” (Watch Part 16 at 1:00 in here)

As local and state officials attempt to resolve the great sinkhole of 2012 event, gas released into the aquifer is highly pressurized and spreading west from under the Bayou Corne community toward the Pierre Part community and Lake Peigneur. Lake Peigneur residents are also pleading for aid due to ongoing problems there since its catastrophic salt dome collapse in 1980.

Recently, Lake Peigneur, approximately 80 miles west of the sinkhole, has also had mysterious bubbling spots. Louisianan State Sen. Fred Hills told Deborah Dupré in an interview this weekend that he believes that the Assumption Parish sinkhole appears to be heading toward another Lake Peigneur catastrophe that is still wreaking havoc among locals but not receiving needed recognition or aid.

After methane bubbling areas and seismic activity were observed and reported by Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou residents for two months, the sinkhole was discovered early on Aug. 3 in swampland between the two bayou communities on Texas Brine Co. property. The sinkhole, that DNR officials think was caused by a failed Texas Brine salt cavern, and Texas Brine says was caused by seismic activity, has forced a mandatory evacuation of 150 families in those areas.

According to locals, the entire 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome housing the failing cavern is sinking.

Earthquakes ahead of the sinkhole in Assumption Parish are back, the number of bubbling sites has increased to 20 and extended miles from the sinkhole, and the hole has increased to four acres.

“Questions might be raised as to whether the existence of a crises for hundreds of people whose lives have been disrupted is even on the front burner of those involved including state government,” reports Bayou Buzz.

Community residents are calling for additional state and federal support, thus far not forthcoming. They are pleading for Gov. Bobby Jindal to expand the evacuation area to include other areas where seismic activity, more gas bubbles and chemical odors are being detected.

Scientists discovered last week what could keep residents out of their homes indefinitely.

“They got down to 90 feet and experienced gas in the water aquifer and were unable to set water well due to the pressure. We put cement, plug, and got off the site and regrouped to come up with another strategy to set a vent well,” Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness parish officer John Boudreaux explained last week.

Among questions that the public submitted last Thursday at a meeting were:

  • Who is going to pay for the damage to the region’s ecology?
  • What are the results of tests promised a few months ago intended to fingerprint natural gas releases from area bayous?
  • What does Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development survey data show about the elevation of La. 70 South before and after the sinkhole appeared and other incidents began?
  • When will transparency of the operations surrounding the sinkhole, gas releases and tremors improve?

“The question still remains whether all parties including state government are doing enough to help that community for a expanding and confounding sinkhole on their property,” BayouBuzzsays.

A concerned resident of Bayou Corne posted on a blog Sunday a letter to Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter requesting their involvement, compared the situation to the 2010 BP Macondo Well, Gulf of Mexico blow-out catastrophe that is ongoing.

To be brief, we have a salt dome in our area that is being mined for brine and some of the already mined caverns are being used to store hydrocarbons, pressurized butane being stored in the closest cavern to our community. These caverns are a few thousand feet tall and about 300 feet in diameter. There are about 57 of these in various locations in the dome and 23 of which are used as storage vessels. These vessels have failed over the years (just as this one has failed recently) one of which caused the permanent evacuation of our neighboring community, Grand Bayou in 2003.”

“Picture if you will a smaller version of the BP oil spill where instead of the oil coming out of the casing on the ocean floor, we have gas escaping from a huge crevice beneath the aquifer which cannot be capped.”

(Watch the entire 23-part briefing here.)

What can you do?

Help locals who are calling on Governor Bobby Jindal to expand the area included in the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou evacuation by signing their petition here.

Thus far, the White House has remained silent about this disaster and rights abuse. A petition to change that is at:

<The Advocate> <LaSinkhole> <EneNews> <BayouBuzz> <ENQINET>


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