More questions, few answers about sinkhole near Bayou Corne - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

More questions, few answers about sinkhole near Bayou Corne

Bayou Corne - Armed with a box full of jars, the emergency preparedness director for Assumption Parish headed out to collect more water samples near Bayou Corne.

A large sinkhole or slurry formed in the area Friday and parish and state officials spent the weekend trying to figure out what caused the ground to open up.

A flyover Monday morning showed no changes to the sinkhole, which swallowed cypress trees nearly 100 feet tall. 

"What happened the other day could be the last event," says Assumption Parish Sheriff Michael Waguespack.  "All we can tell you right now is we still have bubbling in the bayou and we still don't know what happened and some scientists have pointed out to us that it could go from 200 feet to 2000 feet real quickly. We don't know."

Four companies with oil pipelines in the area shut down pressure to those lines over the weekend.

The bigger concern is a cavern about 1,500 feet from the sinkhole.

That cavern contains butane which, if released, could cause an explosion felt up to two miles away.

That's the worst-case scenario.

The Department of Environmental Quality put air monitoring stations around the area to measure for LELs or lower explosive limits.

"We are running a 24-operation here and the computer would alarm if something would be indicated on one of those monitors," says John Boudreaux, the parish's emergency operations director.

The collapsed earth is closest to a cavern owned by Texas Brine.

That company mined deep below the surface for decades but plugged the mine last year by filling it with 20 million barrels of brine.

Texas Brine brought geologists from Florida to figure out the best way to see what's going on beneath the surface. Until they know more, homeowners may not be able to return.

The parish ordered a mandatory evacuation for about 300 residents but some like Dennis Landry chose to stay.

"I think one family moved out but I think everyone else elected to stay," says Landry. "They still feel safe despite what's going on."

Investigators still haven't linked the sinkhole with the bubbling that appeared in Bayou Corne in May.

The question everyone wants answered, is the sinkhole the end of the problem, or just the beginning?

 

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