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An internal piping problem inside a Dow Hydrocarbons underground storage cavern in Assumption Parish prompted automatic emergency systems to burn off propylene and shut the cavity. Dow officials are working on plans to check the cavern — located about two miles away from an Assumption Parish sinkhole. The situation poses no immediate safety risk to the public.
Early Friday morning parish workers discovered water and debris moving inside the containment berm area. Parish officials say this latest activity gives some insight into what's still going on below the surface. So that's what you saw---the big water shift back and forth. We've seen similar events happen in the past when you've seen a big shift of material down there," said Patrick Courreges, Department of Natural Resources spokesperson.
Assumption Parish Office Emergency Preparedness director John Boudreaux says this sinkhole's recent activity shows just how much more information all agencies involved need to find out before lifting the 11-month long mandatory evacuation order. "Some of the estimates---just to remove the gas to a safe level---it's going to take years to do at this current rate. So, no time in the near future would anything be changing," said Boudreaux.