Assumption Parish, LA Sinkhole Deepens to 400ft; Hundreds Evactuated Amidst Fears Of Radioactivity (1 Viewer)



BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Officials say they will test a large sinkhole in Assumption Parish for signs of naturally occurring radiation.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the slurry hole near Bayou Corne is near areas that have been used for oil and gas exploration. Low levels of radioactivity may be remaining from the work, though not at harmful levels, officials say.

Department spokesman Rodney Mallett says such material tends to accumulate in low levels on equipment used to drill for oil and gas.

Scientists say the sinkhole might be related to brine contained in an underground salt cavern owned by Houston-based Texas Brine Co.

Investigations continue at the site.



State and local officials held a press conference Saturday morning to update residents on the Bayou Corne sinkhole.

The governor's office of home security and emergency preparedness (GOHSEP) announced in a press release that the Texas Brine Company will assist displaced residents from the Bayou Corne Sinkhole.

The release issued by GOHSEP says the company will make a "significant contribution" to provide assistance for residents in areas that pose an immediate risk.

The company also announced plans to submit a permit application for the drilling of a new well to determine the cause and stability of the sinkhole. Louisiana State Police will help the company bring in between 30 and 50 18-wheelers full of drilling equipment.

GOHSEP also announced that the Dept. of Environmental Quality and Dept. of Transportation and Development continue around-the-clock monitoring of the air, water and roadways near the sinkhole. Neither agency has reported any abnormal readings.

Daily flights over the sinkhole are also being carried out by State Police and the Louisiana National Guard.




The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality reported it is monitoring three new bubble sites on Bayou Corne, Grand Bayou and the Triche Canal.

Crews are testing the new locations, as it continues the process at the previously discovered places of bubbling.

DEQ is monitoring the ground for potential natural gas accumulation and the air for dangerous contaminants.

"DEQ staff continues to monitor the areas around the sinkhole in Assumption Parish and no harmful readings have been found to date," said Peggy Hatch, DEQ Secretary. "Our top priority is protecting the environment and human health and we will continue to keep the public informed of all test results."

DEQ said it will continue to work with the parish and Texas Brine to monitor the air and water.



Louisiana sinkhole news this weekend was Dallas-based Crosstex Energy LP saying again it will reroute its 36-inch natural gas pipeline in the 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville salt dome, part of which is under the Bayou Corne sinkhole.

“In an abundance of caution, we have decided to make some piping changes and move product from the well closest to the slurry to the well farthest from slurry to further alleviate any concerns from public,” Jill McMillan, Crosstex spokeswoman had said, as reported Aug. 19. The butane was to be moved, in the same salt dome, 1000 feet further from the sinkhole.

The sinkhole discovery on Aug. 3 forced the company to close a pipeline section and secure alternative natural gas supplies for its customers, Crosstex recently said, adding that is costing the company around $250,000 to $300,000 a month, with a total cost of $20 million to $25 million.

In the salt dome, Crosstex stores in one of its two caverns off Highway La. 70, 1500 feet from the Bayou Corne sinkhole, around 900,000 barrels of butane for third parties “not directly under contract with Crosstex," according to The Advocate.

Residents and some officials continue fearing that Crosstex’s butane could cause an explosion. The company, backed by DNR and the DEQ, says its cavern poses little to no threat to residents near the sinkhole.

Moving the butane will take a year, according to the company.

The sinkhole area has continued recording seismic activity, even after the thousands of quakes and tremors ended elsewhere in the area hours before the sinkhole developed. The sinkhole has expanded at least 70 feet over the past month.

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