Louisiana Sinkhole

A massive sinkhole, currently over 400 feet wide, is causing great concern for people in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. The story of the Louisiana sinkhole at Bayou Corne, is as large and uncontrolled as the sinkhole itself.

If ever you've thought that a sinkhole was nothing more that a large pothole, this ongoing news story will change your mind forever.

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Louisiana Sinkhole - Oct 2012 swallows almost 4 acres

The news began in May 2012, with reports of strange bubbles appearing in a Louisiana bayou, determined to be evidence of a natural gas leak. By the 19 June 2012, an emergency was declared in Assumption Parish.

Then, on 3 Aug 2012, a giant sinkhole appeared overnight in Bayou Corne, Louisiana. The sinhole was deep enough to swallow 100-foot tall trees without a trace. That alone was dramatic enough, but sadly, the story doesn't end there.

The sinkhole began to grow, and continues to grow as this story is written in mid-October 2012. A state emergency was declared the same day the large sinkhole appeared in August, and residents in the immediate area were evacuated.

By mid-October, the sinkhole has grown to swallow almost 4 acres of land. The seriousness of risks associated with the sinkhole continue to grow too.

Near the sinkhole location are a number of storage wells of toxic material, and leaks have started to occur there too. Workers are frantically trying to pump out nearby wells of oil, butane, and natural gas to reduce risks.

Some serious damage has already been reported.

Natural gas has been found to have contaminated an aquifer in the area. Diesel is now part of the slurry water cover. A natural gas pipeline has become disconnected and now floats in the slurry. Luckily, the natural gas that had been flowing in the pipeline had been cut off earlier, or that alone could have been a disaster.

And catastrophic disaster is still a possibility, especially as the sinkhole continues to grow.

One of the biggest risks is the danger of highly explosive butane gas, stored in a salt dome nearby. The gas is highly explosive when exposed to the air. Some estimates liken a possible explosion to a nuclear bomb. While officials are reluctant to use that term, they do describe the situation as potentially "catastrophic".

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Analysis and Opinion

Sinkholes can and do occur naturally. And it's also true that iin the last few years, they are occurring more frequently. As sinkholes appear in inhabited areas, the damage is that much greater.

But... in this instance, much of the risks and damage that has already occurred was entirely avoidable.


Official Information Links
Louisiana Sinkhole

Assumption Parish Blog
Situation Summaries
Press Releases/Media

Information compiled and provided by the Assumption OHSEP and responding agencies:

Seismic Monitor Map
Bubbling Locations Map
Sinkhole Map (distance from community)
EPA Flight Summary



Timeline


May 2012

May 2012 - Residents notice bubbling in the waterways of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou

31 May 2012 - officials at Assumption Parish notified. Natural gas leak determined as source of problem.

June 2012

Residents report feeling tremors in the area.

19 Jun 2012 - State of Emergency declared in Assumption Parish, Louisiana

22 Jun 2012 - Parish officials start monitoring waterways for "carbon monoxide, H2Sm and Lower Explosive Levels (LEL)" USGS started recording tremors, but unable to determine source.

26 Jun 2012 - First press release issued by Assumption Parish detailing status and findings.

Jun 28, 2012 - Local News Report:
Mysterious bubbles in Bayou Corne

July 2012

Nearby residents continue to feel tremors.
Incidents of bubbling water, - evidence of natural gas leaks in local waterways - continues.

19 July 2012 - Local News Report:
Could earthquakes be the cause of bubbling bayou?

August 2012

3 Aug 2012 -
Massive sinkhole appears overnight in an area of swamp near Bayou Corne. Local industry discovered the sinkhole when investigating a strong smell of diesel in the area. Local officials begin evacuating residents, and call in help from the state government of Louisiana. State of emergency declared for State of Louisiana.

8 Aug 2012 - First official Operational Situation Summary issued on-line by Assumption Parish.

Aug 9th - Situation summary by State Govt

SITUATION SUMMARY

The link below will bring you to a slide deck that has been provided for situation awareness. The slides summarize all agencies reports & incident action plans and will be updated accordingly every 72 hours.

A blog has been created to provide residents with a central location to retrieve the most current information regarding Assumption Parish. Currently, the blog will be dedicated to disseminating information to residents in the Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne areas relative to the bubbling in the bayous and the slurry that formed on last Friday. If you have any questions regarding the blog or would like to make a recomendation, please contact Erin Watson at 985-772-1745 or via email, erinwatson@assumptionla.com.

Link to access blog:

http://assumptionla.wordpress.com/

22 Aug 2012 - Huff Po

Louisiana Sinkhole Spurs Evacuations, Lawsuits and a Resignation

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