The sinkhole near Bayou Corne in Louisiana sucked down another patch of earth as Texas Brine Co. released pressure again from its failed salt dome cavern near the 29-acre swampland sinkhole in Assumption Parish.
Officials say the edge collapse, or slough-in, came five days after six trees in the same area were pulled down into the hole’s watery depths. Texas Brine was releasing pressure from the cavern around the same time.
State regulators said they are trying to determine to what extent reducing pressure in the cavern is linked to recent slough-ins.
Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, tells The Advocate state and Texas Brine officials are trying to reduce cavern pressure in measured amounts and watch for any consequences.
“Any sudden, sharp change in condition that might have the potential to release additional gas/crude oil, or alter the sinkhole growth trend in some way that would pose a greater threat to the public or to Bayou Corne itself must be prevented,” Courreges said in an email to a resident asking about the situation.
Video provided by parish officials shows an estimated 40-foot by 10-foot section of the well pad slowly sink underneath the sinkhole’s surface at about 2:35 p.m.
The video was shot by John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. He said he continued to see small bits of the well pad – once used by the company to work on the well – continue to be eaten away by the sinkhole.
“Every now and then, I see a piece fall in,” he said.
Scientists think the Texas Brine cavern, which was carved with fresh water from a large underground deposit of salt, had a breach or collapse in its supporting side wall. Rock surrounding that deposit flowed inside the cavern. The shifting rock underground resulted in the sinkhole in August 2012.