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As previously posted, the cavern was entered at approximately 8:45 last night. At that time, no gas was encountered. At 10:00 p.m. last night, they finished drilling the additional 80′ and no obstructions or gas were encountered. At 11:00 p.m. gas started to flow from the cavern at 950 psi. DEQ did obtain samples of this gas as well as samples of the cavern fluid. They are currently flaring the gas off.
Assumption Parish officials have been advised by DNR that their exploratory well observers have confirmed that brine cavern #3 has failed. Per Texas Brine’s press release, “The tool used to measure cavern depth bottomed out at approximately 4,000 feet – a point estimated to be 1,300 feet higher than the floor had been measured prior to the cavern closure in 2011. This preliminary finding indicates that some type of dense material has fallen to the bottom of the cavern.
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.
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.
“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.”
Some speculate that the Corexit that was used to clean up the Deep Water spill could have something to do with this but I doubt we will ever be told the whole truth.
Along with a massive sinkhole, anger is growing in Assumption Parish, La. as details emerge that state and corporate officials knew for over a year about the potential for structural failure at a salt mine used to store oil and gas drilling waste but failed to alert local residents.
While officials admitted they can’t allow residents to return home just yet, they are continuing to monitor for air pollution from natural gas escaping from bubbles in area bayous and plan to next week drill some new, shallow wells, called “geo-probes,” to see if natural gas is reaching to the surface from fractured substrata.
Ferrell Brunet, a Shaw spokesman, explained how the 10 or so proposed geo-probes, or small monitoring wells made of polyvinyl chloride pipes fitted with filters, will be drilled about 50 feet deep into the ground so experts can get a better picture of where natural gas might be leaking.
Indications of natural gas have been found in an aquifer beneath the Bayou Corne area northwest of the Napoleonville Dome, according to reports. The aquifer is located in strata overlying the top of the dome.
"I sought an analysis of the recent DEQ test results from Waligora, who since a stint as a nuclear weapons officer in the U.S. military has been teaching, consulting and testifying as an expert witness in radiation litigation for more than 45 years," asserted Smith Friday. He expressed concern that the state reported its findings of radium-226 and radium-228 as "below acceptable levels," when in fact, the results were 15 times higher than the state’s own standard for soil contamination.
"The release could reach the usable aquifer and contaminate drinking water along with livestock and irrigated crops," Waligora says. "The DEQ must sample ground water to assess any transport. Airborne particulate might become entrained and cause contamination to be inhaled by the public. DEQ must collect air samples to assess the airborne radioactive particulate. Radon gas emanating from the radium could be inhaled by members of the public. DEQ needs to monitor airborne radon.
An oil sheen about four miles long has appeared in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a Coast Guard spokesman said Thursday.
Methane gas leaks are spreading throughout the south Louisiana area. Within four months, as of this week, methane bubbling sites have increased to twenty-eight, including in Pierre Part, outside the mandatory evacuation area but within hearing distance and jolts of seismic activities where foul chemical odors are nauseating and burning, as some residents there have reported.
“With levels as high as 22,400, 26,600 and 27, 700 ug/L, it would appear immediate remediation is warranted,” DHH advises.
Officials had called extra security to the Bayou Corne disaster area after "powerful underground forces" caused the monster sinkhole in the swampland, bent a gas pipeline to a right angle in a 400-foot section next to the bubbling hole, caused evacuation of 150 homes, temporarily shut a four-mile stretch of Highway 70, and renewed discussion about a methane-bubble tsunami from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico BP blow-out.
Officials: High levels of gas in water wells by sinkhole — Potential health risk, fire/explosion — Immediate remediation needed — “Heed evacuation orders”
John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said there are concerns the gas can build up pressure under the clay layer that lies above the aquifer. Once the pressure in the aquifer reaches a pressure greater than 75 to 85 pounds per square inch, the clay layer might not be able to hold back the accumulated gas, according to Boudreaux and geologists. “And then it could be a problem because you do not know where the weak point would be until after it has already done its thing,” Boudreaux said.
Various and repeated aerial-, land- and water-based tests for months, in fact, have also not yet found risk of explosive concentrations of the gas, parish and state officials have said.
They are trying to see if the cavern inside the Napoleonville Dome is the source of the 475-foot-wide sinkhole.
Grave human rights issues in Assumption Parish's sinkhole area communities are mounting as methane gas pressure is building in the Mississippi River Alluvial aquifer, possibly to “explosive concentrations,” according to geologists who say Monday that the top layer may not hold back gas if above 75 psi. An undetermined amount of natural gas is trapped in the aquifer under the Bayou Corne sinkhole community, state and parish officials say.
Once the aquifer reaches a pressure greater than 75 to 85 pounds per square inch, the clay layer might not hold back the accumulated gas, according to Boudreaux and geologists.
Even if there is no gas explosion, locals worry that a catastrophic release of the gas can cause widespread asphyxiation.
Radioactive waste, secretly stored in the breached cavern, is 15 times the acceptable state limit, according to Stanley Waligora, a New Mexico-based radiation protection consultant and leading authority on health risks of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM).
Louisiana Environmental Action Network have said they believe that the cavern is not the source of the spreading methane nor the thousands of earthquakes recorded before the sinkhole developed
Bayou Corne Sinkhole Raises Concerns at Lake Peigneur
But back at Lake Peigneur, residents said they've seen bubbling around the lake, and believe it's a warning sign. "There's bubbling on the south side of the lake, and it's usually about the same spot," said Derise. "It'll be a white foam that you can actually break up." Scientists have not yet determined what could be causing the bubbling.
Gassed Louisiana sinkhole family human rights plea exposes coverup
Today, near the latest Bayou Corne sinkhole area bubbling site, resides Alicia Heilig, her two children and mother, suffering burning eyes, nausea, constant dull headaches and other signs of being poisoned, with no emergency aid, cannot evacuate from the life-threatening area, they have told human rights reporter Deborah Dupré. The Heilig’s house is one of hundreds in Bayou Corne, Grand Bayou and Pierre Part above the sinking 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome where a giant sinkhole, parish bayous and water wells are releasing life threatening, explosive volatile hydrocarbons.
Heilig, 27, her two children, ages 2 and 6, and her mother, Deby, 58, are among Louisiana’s latest oil and gas-related industry poisoned victims, according to their accounts and a low-profile September 14 Department of Natural Resources (DNR) declaration about the life threatening emergency.
Methane gas bubbling sites in bayous and swampland in the sinkhole area have increased to 28. A recently reported site is directly behind the Heilig’s house.
According to the chemical bible MSDS, in its #1070 Emergency Overview, methane can “reduce the amount of oxygen in the air necessary to support life.” “Exposure to oxygen-deficient atmospheres (less than 19.5 %) may produce dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and death. At very low oxygen concentrations (less than 12 %) unconsciousness and death may occur without warning. It should be noted that before suffocation could occur, the lower flammable limit for methane in air will be exceeded; causing both an oxygen deficient and an explosive atmosphere.”
Methane has been detected in industrial water wells in the sinkhole vicinity and presents a potential health risk (Type 2 of fire/explosion), according to Dr. Rauolt Ratard, State Epidemiologist of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office (DHH) of Public Health.
The latest release of natural gas discovered in an underground aquifer near Bayou Corne may be the third time in the past 13 years that gas has been loosed in shallow formations over or near the subterranean Napoleonville salt dome, according to a review of regulatory filings. A consulting hydrogeologist working in spring 2004 to finish removing natural gas that was then trapped 150 feet under the Grand Bayou area found gas had been released into the same subsurface aquifer at least five years earlier, regulatory filings with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality say.
The vent well referenced in the 2004 letter to DEQ, called “UCAR-1,” was located on former Union Carbide property over the dome. Union Carbide is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., which has major brine operations on the dome a couple miles east of the sinkhole.
Patrick Courreges, of the Department of Natural Resources, said the agency has not ruled out any of the natural gas storage operations on the Napoleonville Dome, including gas from the 2003-04 Gulf South incident.
Chiasson and a spokesman for Gulf South Pipeline Co., which no longer leases storage caverns in the dome, said recent testing shows gas released from the 2003-04 Grand Bayou incident is not involved in the latest releases. “To our knowledge, based on meetings with local and state agencies, a preliminary laboratory comparison between a Gulf South natural gas release sample and a current gas release sample indicates that these two events are not related,” Chiasson said in an email.