Save the Water™
USA: Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou sinkhole history
Grand Bayou sink hole history timeline.
Best viewed using Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari.
Part two of this Save the Water™ special water education edition chronologically covers the history and timeline facts of the Bayou Corne – Grand Bayou sinkhole, beginning two months prior the actual collapse on August 3, 2012 until May 16, 2013. The videos within this report will assist you in visualizing the actual magnitude of this situation and I personally recommend to view these videos as pictures speak more than words. [ Click full screen: videos will be in high definition ]
Part three: 05/18/2013 will consist of scientific facts regarding sink holes, videos, and material to assist you in further research of the Bayou Corne – Grand Bayou environmental – water crisis. We wish to thank WBRZ , TheAdvocate.com and WWLTV.com for the detailed coverage they have provided since the outset of this water crisis.
Click Here For Lake Peigneur Part One: Video – Lake Peigneur could be worse than Assumption sinkhole
The beginning: June 27,2012 – Bubbles in bayou raise concerns.
PIERRE PART – Assumption Parish authorities are holding a meeting to discuss a natural gas leak causing bubbles in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou.
For seven years, Shelly Hernandez has called Bayou Corne home. “I really love the area, it was very peaceful until we started having gas bubbling,” she said. For weeks now they’ve been blistering the surface of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, leaving residents living on these bayous concerned. “This is not an accident, this is something that’s been caused by someone,” said resident Randy Rousseau. But no one seems to know who. One thing parish officials do know is that the bubbles are caused by a natural gas leak. “It’s the fear of the unknown… we been seeing it, and wondered about it, and knew it wasn’t natural,” Rousseau said.
The parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is investigating the leak. Officials say there’s no serious risk of it catching fire. “There’s been no readings to show flamability of the product coming from bubbles, as of right now, no water ways or any evacuations have happened,” said parish OHSEP Manager John Boudreaux. But Rousseau says he’s not waiting around for that to happen. “I have a house and business in Grand Bayou, I don’t live there anymore. I bought other property, my wife and I didn’t feel safe,” he said.
Residents living in Bayou Corne are on edge.
BELLE ROSE- Residents living on Bayou Corne, in Assumption Parish, are living with fear, because of the uncertainty of a natural gas leaks, that’s boiling to the top of the bayou. Today, USGS will be installing seismic monitors in the area where the bubbles are appearing.
Gas bubbles continue in Bayou Corne.
Jul 18, 2012 / Education timeline courtesy of WBRZ..read more
NAPOLEONVILLE – Analysts pulled gas samples today from the bubbling Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou areas in their continuing search to find out what’s causing them. The Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources have been in the area since July 14 trying to determine the source of the gas bubbles. A spokesperson said samples taken today were intended to validate samples the teams had already pulled from the area. The U. S. Geological Survey encouraged people living in the area to continue to report any tremors felt in the community to the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, either online or by calling (985) 369-7386.
Abandoned well could be source of gas leak.
BELLE ROSE – Assumption Parish officials believe an abandon well leaking natural gas could be what’s causing bubbles on Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou.
A resident came across the abandoned well two days ago off La. 70, in a swamp near Bayou Corne. Officials said the well is leaking flammable natural gas, but the chance of any ignition is 35 percent. Although a lot of fingers point to this well as the cause for the bubbling bayou, officials still aren’t saying the mystery’s solved. “We have to check and try and determine what is the source of the gas that is bubbling in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, if this is related to one larger incident,” said Assumption Parish Emergency Preparedness manager John Boudreaux. Residents said at this point, they don’t know what to believe. “I’m not a scientist, I’m not an engineer, I don’t know any of this stuff, I’m just having to take people at their word for it. But we feel like we’re not getting enough real concrete answers to make us feel safe,” said Bucky Mistretta. Engineers plan to excavate around the well on Thursday to see if it really is the really problem.
Sinkhole appears in bubbling swamp.
BAYOU CORNE – A sinkhole formed overnight in an area of Assumption Parish swamps that have been bubbling for several weeks now.
John Boudreaux, the director of the parish office of emergency preparedness, said the sinkhole measured about 200 feet by 200 feet and several trees had fallen into it. He said the sinkhole is on private land near the Texas Brine Co. LLC facility, near the areas of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou which have been the site of unexplained gas bubbles for some time. Boudreaux said they will bring in a helicopter from Alexandria later today to get a better look at the sinkhole. Federal and state officials have been in the area searching for the cause of the bubbling and reported tremors in the area, but have not narrowed down a cause for the phenomena yet.
“Sinkhole” now “slurry area” in bayou.
BAYOU CORNE – Parish officials are now calling what they initially said was a “sinkhole” a “slurry area” near bubbling bayous in Assumption Parish.
According to a press people in Bayou Corne reported a strong diesel smell this morning. Shortly after that authorities identified a “slurry area” where several trees had collapsed in a swamp area between Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne. State Police and parish emergency officials will fly over the site this afternoon to see if there are any other slurry areas. Other agencies will continue to monitor for any other slurry sites or expansion of the existing area. Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou have been the site of gas bubbling for the past few weeks, as well as tremors reported by people living in the area. So far no definite cause for the bubbling or tremors has been identified.
Officials say diesel found in liquefied swampland.
Aug 6, 2012 / Education timeline courtesy of WBRZ..read more
BATON ROUGE – State officials say preliminary slurry water samples pulled from the acre of swampland that liquefied into muck over the weekend indicate the presence of small amounts of diesel hydrocarbons.
The pond of muck, located in Assumption Parish, first appeared Friday night and grew quickly, bending a 36-inch natural gas pipeline buried 16 feet in the ground as the muck expanded. About 150 homes and several businesses were ordered to evacuate after Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency for the parish when the slurry area appeared to be expanding. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says it has not determined where diesel may be coming from. They plan to take more tests. Meanwhile parish officials say the size of the slurry hole has not changed since Sunday.
Hundreds evacuate while agencies monitor sinkhole.
ASSUMPTION PARISH – Nearly 200 people left the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou area after a sinkhole caused officials to order a mandatory evacuation.
The massive sinkhole, the size of a football field, is located about 2,000 feet behind Shelly Hernandez’s house. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. I feared this all along: something sinking, something blowing up,” Hernandez said. That concern has officials on high alert. Today diesel was found in the area, which officials believe is coming from an inactive cavern on the property of Texas Brine. The Houston-based company brought in geologists and geo-mechanical experts today to begin examining the inactive mine cavern, and see if it is the cause of the sinkhole and the mysterious natural gas bubbles recently found in the two bayous.
Parish officials are monitoring the area to make sure the diesel doesn’t reach a level where it could possibly ignite. “Air monitors that monitor the community have not shown any danger levels that would affect anything, but it is definitely there,” said emergency preparedness director John Boudreaux. But what’s behind all of this, is still up in the air. “Still fear of unknown,” said Hernandez, “because nobody knows anything.” Officials scheduled a community meeting Tuesday evening to brief the public about what they’ve found so far. The meeting is set for Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Hall in Pierre Part, located on Highway 70. See Photos Video
Scientists to examine sinkhole.
Adrian Pittman: BAYOU CORNE – The company which owns land a massive sinkhole appeared on sent in experts today to see if they could connect it to bubbles that had been popping up in the nearby Assumption Parish bayous. A mandatory evacuation is still in affect for people living near Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou after the massive sinkhole was discovered. Parish officials are monitoring the area on Texas Brine’s 40-acre facility south of La. 70, and as of now it hasn’t grown. The Houston-based company is bringing in geologists and geo-mechanical experts today to begin examining an inactive salt mine cavern to see if it is the cause of the sinkhole and the mysterious natural gas bubbles recently found in the two bayous.
Meeting set to brief community on sinkhole
BAYOU CORNE- Assumption Parish, State, and facility owners will meet with people who live near a sinkhole that developed Friday. The sinkhole may be caused by a failure in a brine cavern inside a salt dome. The sinkhole is connected with some bubbles that appeared in Bayou Corne earlier this summer. The meeting is set for Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Hall in Pierre Part, located on Highway 70.
When the ground collapsed it also damaged a pipeline. Because of that, Highway 70 was closed- and remains closed- it may open overnight. The line is being depressurized. Friday night, people who live near the sinkhole were evacuated. A shelter at Belle Rose Middle School was opened.
State: salt dome, mining operation failure likely cause of sinkhole and bubbles
Trey Schmaltz: BATON ROUGE- State experts now think a failed salt dome, or mining operation, in Assumption Parish led to a sinkhole Friday and is also connected to a bubbling phenomenon in Bayou Corne as well as tremors in the area. “Through consultation with all the scientists involved, DNR has determined that the potential failure of a portion of an inactive salt-mining cavern near the area … is a likely cause of the occurrence and possibly the recent natural gas bubbling,” the state said in a news release late Friday.
The sinkhole developed sometime early Friday morning, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for the people who live near it about 16 hours later. “The Office of Conservation has issued an emergency order requiring a brine solution company to take steps to evaluate the structural integrity of one its inactive salt caverns,” the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources said. According to DNR, state leaders have been in contact with the company, and Texas Brine has “indicated that it intends to cooperate fully to evaluate the status of its cavern and take action to address any potential failure in structural integrity.” The bubbles are a natural gas mixture, and air monitoring is taking place. No unsafe air-related pollutants were found. The bubbles began about two months ago, followed by earthquakes, then the sinkhole on Friday. People in the area were asked to leave Friday night, a shelter was established at a school.
Trey Schmaltz: BATON ROUGE- A representative for Texas Brine described what’s under Bayou Corne as a vase, where brine – a mixture of water and salt- is extracted from salt domes and used in various compounds. Under Bayou Corne, a cavern was created in a salt dome- nearly a mile under ground.
The operation was running for twenty years before it was shuttered three years ago. Now, a brine mixture fills the cavern where salt once formed. Company leaders aren’t sure what’s caused a sinkhole or bubbles in the area. But, Friday night, experts with the state blamed a possible failure in the salt dome. It had been described as a “stable formation” by a company representative, now they’re looking to see what issues, if any, there are with the cavern. The cavern is large enough to hold millions of barrels of the brine mixture. Texas Brine operates as many as four other similar operations in the Assumption Parish area- those are active.
Natl. Guard reports sinkhole grew overnight.
BAYOU CORNE – Authorities in Assumption Parish reported that the slurry area near Bayou Corne grew overnight.
The National Guard took infared readings by helicopter overnight, and observed the sinkhole grew by 10 to 20 feet from north to south. Earlier today authorities said they were taking readings for naturally-ocurring radiation in the area of the sinkhole, which may have been left over from oil and gas exploration in the area. They said additional monitoring near bubbling areas of the bayou detected no radiation. A state Department of Environmental Quality Mobile Lab arrived on site today to check air quality levels in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities. A mandatory evacuation order for residents in the Bayou Corne community remains in effect. Click here for more updates from the Assumption Parish Police Jury’s blog about the sinkhole.
Residents near sinkhole voice relief well concerns
ASSUMPTION PARISH – A company that owns an operation blamed for a massive sinkhole in Assumption Parish is expected to begin drilling an exploratory well by the end of the weekend.
The well drilled by Texas Brine LLC, will investigate a salt cavern experts believe is behind a massive sinkhole and mysterious bubbles in Bayou Corne. Neighbors are concerned about the risks that could come with drilling, including the possibility it could collapse the salt dome cavern. The nearest neighbor is about 25,000 feet from the site of the relief-well. Experts say at this point, they don’t anticipate risks but residents say they’re not taking any chances. “We’re going to have to leave. There’s too many ifs, and I can’t live with ifs. Because one of those ifs could put me on the other side of the grass,” says Duane Bier. Parts of the rig will start arriving tomorrow from Lafayette. The rig will be installed by layers, and once complete, it will be about 14 stories high.
Sinkhole swallows boat – workers rescued.
BAYOU CORNE – Emergency personnel rescued two workers who were cleaning up a portion of the Assumption Parish sinkhole when their boat was caught in it.
The Assumption Parish Police Jury said the workers were on the southwest side of the sinkhole when 50 feet of land collapsed into it, trapping their boat. The workers had to be rescued by an airboat, and shortly afterward the boat they were originally in was swallowed by the sinkhole. Authorities said all workers have been accounted for and no injuries were reported. Cleanup operations near the sinkhole have been suspended as a precaution. Crews with Texas Brine LLC are building a drilling rig to get into a salt cavern near the sinkhole to learn more about what caused it. The sinkhole appeared more than a week ago and has continued to grow as land surrounding it breaks off into the slurry area. Health and environmental monitors in the area haven’t found any health threats from the sinkhole, or bubbling that continues in the surrounding bayous.
Texas Brine offers residents checks.
Texas Brine Co. LLC suspended cleanup work at a large sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish after the southwestern edge of the slurry area collapsed Thursday morning, company and parish officials said.
Two workers with Texas Brine’s cleanup contractor, Clean Harbors of Norwell, Mass., were rescued from their small aluminum boat by a co-worker in an airboat shortly before the workers’ boat sank into the sinkhole along with the collapsing earth, the officials said. Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said the boat was tied to a leaning tree on the shoreline. The workers saw the tree begin to move and managed to get out the way, escaping with their equipment at about 8:30 a.m., the officials said.
that extended from the shoreline to about 50 feet inland. The sheriff said bubbling in the sinkhole intensified after the collapse. The sinkhole was discovered Aug. 3 about 200 feet from the well pad of a plugged and abandoned Texas Brine salt cavern in an area between Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou and south of La. 70 South. The collapse Thursday was on the well pad side of the sinkhole.
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources scientists suspect the cavern failed, released its brine contents and caused the sinkhole, which swallowed up forested swamps. A mandatory evacuation order has remained in place since the evening of Aug. 3 for the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou areas. Parish officials have said the order affects about 150 residences.
DNR officials have ordered Texas Brine of Houston to drill a relief well to get a better understanding of what is happening with the cavern, a process that could take at least 40 days. Other developments also emerged from news statements Thursday and in recent interviews:
Texas Brine Co. LLC contractor Worley Catastrophe Response will begin distributing weekly housing assistance checks for $875 at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Sheriff’s Office substation, 4024 La. 70 S., Pierre Part, to households affected by the evacuation order.
DNR and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality officials said Thursday that a Crosstex Energy LP of Dallas salt cavern containing 940,000 barrels of liquid butane poses “little to no threat” to populations near the slurry hole.
Sonny Cranch, Texas Brine spokesman, said company officials expected that the edges of the sinkhole would continue gradually to fall in, or slough off, making the sinkhole bigger and shallower. In an updated estimate of the hole’s size Wednesday evening — before the Thursday collapse — state officials said the sinkhole was expanding at the edges, though still much smaller than the maximum size estimated by DNR scientists.
The statement said the sinkhole was 476 feet from the northeast to the southwest sides and 640 feet from the northwest to the southeast. “This natural growth of the sinkhole was expected and could continue,” the Wednesday statement said.
On Thursday after the collapse, Cranch said company officials will re-evaluate the sinkhole Monday to see if it has stabilized and will deploy more oil retardant boom. “But (workers) will not continue physical cleanup activities until they evaluate the sinkhole on Monday,” he said.
Workers with Clean Harbors have been collecting vegetation floating in the sinkhole in preparation for vacuuming diesel on the water’s surface. Cranch said the cleanup will move forward even though the sloughing process is continuing. “We’re not ready to abandon efforts to clean up the sinkhole at this time,” Cranch said. “We think that work can continue and continue safely as the sinkhole continues to stabilize.”
Despite the setback on cleanup, Cranch said the delivery of drilling rig parts to Texas Brine’s facility continued Thursday and assembly is underway. Drilling work could start late Friday or early Saturday, Cranch said. Worley Catastrophe Response, which will coordinate and manage the “Bayou Corne Incident Evacuee Fund” for Texas Brine, plans to issue checks to the representative of each household affected by the evacuation order, Texas Brine officials said.
The representative will have to display a Louisiana driver’s license or “other reasonably acceptable photo identification confirming residence in the evacuation zone,” company officials said in a news release. The original permit for the Texas Brine cavern requires the operator to provide assistance to residents in areas deemed to be at immediate potential risk, state officials have said. The requirement is triggered in the event of a sinkhole and evacuation, state officials said. Crosstex also submitted a revised worst-case scenario analysis in its risk management plan Wednesday at the request of DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. In a statement Thursday, DEQ officials noted that the cavern, which is a half-mile underground and far below the bottom of the sinkhole, cannot release its liquid butane contents without water being pumped into the cavern to push out the butane. The butane is also being held in the absence of oxygen.
“While it is easy to simply convert the known quantity of butane into a blast scenario, that does not mean this scenario is possible,” DEQ officials said in a statement. Crosstex’s other nearby cavern, which has the capacity to hold 1.7 million barrels, has no hydrocarbons inside and is filled with brine at present, company officials said in their letter. The sinkhole’s emergence followed more than two months of earth tremors and mysterious natural gas releases in Bayou Corne, Grand Bayou and water wells.
The gas bubbling has continued since the sinkhole emerged. Tremors ceased the day before the sinkhole was found. The Texas Brine salt cavern was carved out of the 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Dome, a large underground salt deposit. The cavern, which was used to produce brine for industry and never for natural gas storage, was plugged and abandoned in June 2011 after company officials ran into trouble trying to expand the cavern.
Cavern damaged – now crews have to figure out what happened.
BAYOU CORNE- Scientists discovered a salt brine cavern, deep under Assumption Parish, has been damaged. Seismic activity in the area is blamed.
“The cavern damage was caused by an external source,” a spokesperson for Texas Brine said in a news release late Monday. Texas Brine operated a brine operation in the Bayou Corne/ Grand Bayou area years ago. Caverns were created inside a salt dome, deep underground to extract brine. In May, people began reporting tremors and bubbles in the bayous. Over the summer, ground subsided and created a sinkhole. Since then, crews have been trying to determine the cause- and what can be done to fix the situation.
“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,” a representative of Texas Brine reported. “This preliminary finding indicates that some type of dense material has fallen to the bottom of the cavern. A sample of the material has been retrieved from the cavern floor and will be analyzed.” That material is described as abnormal, compared to what should be found in the sealed cavern. “Sonar inspection that is currently being conducted will provide a more detailed image of the cavern’s interior conditions and the possible source of the material at its base.” An entire community was evacuated, and still is not allowed to return.
Residents angry as Assumption sinkhole continues collapsing.
Related: News articles WWLTV
Work halted at Assumption Parish sinkhole site
May 17 2013
Drinking Water News
Global Water News
Ground Water News
Misc Water Issues
Petroleum and Fracking
Questions and Answers
Water & Your Health
Top Education Pages
Microscope Images Fracking Infographics
STEM Water Science
STEM Water Infographic
STEM: Microscope Videos
STEM: Water Cycle Songs
STEM: Water Cycle Videos