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I was knocked off my seat this morning when I discovered the Bayou Corne "sinkhole."  First, because it's a few miles from my Cajun cousins and, second, because I had not heard a whisper of this disaster that started a year ago.

Here are the basic details.

-- Bayou Corne is a small, pleasant Cajun community in Assumption Parish, LA.  The area produces sugar cane, oil, natural gas, and salt.  My Cajun cousins live in Belle Rose, about six miles away.  I've visited in Bayou Corne, fished and hunted there; shopped at the nearby Pierre Part Store.
-- Much of Southern Louisiana is underlain with massive salt domes below the ground surface.  Some of these are quite deep, others come close to the surface.
-- Water is pumped into these salt formations to create brine which is then extracted to produce salt that has various industrial and agricultural uses. As the salt is extracted, the dome begins to disappear.  More water is pumped in to prevent the whole thing from collapsing.
-- But it collapsed.  A year or so ago, local folks noticed methane gas bubbling up out of the bayou and wells.  They also noticed the ground sinking in several locations.

Now, the "sinkhole" has swallowed 10 acres of the community and there's no telling when or where it will stop.  (While the popular name for this thing is a "sinkhole," it is actually a "salt dome collapse" -- not that the people whose homes and property are being swallowed are interested in the difference.)

Turns out that radioactive waste of some kind was pumped into the salt dome and God-only-knows what else.

Links below the squiggle.

This link contains links to dozens of articles on the Bayou Corne salt dome collapse.

This local blogger has a PILE of links, articles, and info on his site.  

LA Governor Bobby Jindal announced recently that the company operating the salt dome will start buying out property owners.  Great.  But how long before we taxpayers get stuck with the bill?

One local citizen started a blog but there seems to have been no activity on the blog since November 2012.

This blog is maintained by the Assumption Parish Police Jury
and seems to have updated information.

For you non-Louisianans: In Louisiana a "parish" is what the rest of the country calls a "county" -- it's a term left over from the French heritage.  The "police jury" is similar to a county board of supervisors, or aldermen, or county council.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A salt mine in upstate NY collapsed awhile back, (8+ / 0-)

    the Retsof mine (that's Foster (the founder) spelled backwards. My great grandfather died in a mine accident there. My aunt worked with others in this rural area to stop the mine from being used to store waste sometime in late 70s. She was ahead of her time.

    Sorry for the folks in LA. Glad you posted this.

    "As long as Unicorns roam the earth, evil can never harm the pure of heart."

    by PHScott on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:12:19 AM PDT

    •  They are still pumping brine from the flooded mine (4+ / 0-)

      there to make salt pellets for water softeners.

      It is not a big operation, but now seems a cause for concern.  I know that it is carefully monitored.

      Hooray for your aunt, if the waste from incinerators had been stored there, it would have flowed into the Genesee River and into Lake Ontario like the salt did.

      Where I was working during the collapse, the ceiling tiles all lifted and then resettled, with a giant "wooof";  we thought it was an earthquake.

      It is presumed that the collapse came from the mine's previous owners, Akzo Nobel (sp?) who removed too much salt from the pillars that held up the "ceiling" of the mine.

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

      by weck on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:40:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  THANK YOU for this update (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        are in York, Retsof, Piffard? Or off to the west somewhere. I think the mine reaches a long ways.
        My Family name is Copeland, First Presbyterian in York, and the cemetery by Retsof.

        "As long as Unicorns roam the earth, evil can never harm the pure of heart."

        by PHScott on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 04:30:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was living in Geneseo, and working at BOCES. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I was in Genesee County before that.  Where I live now, we found some documentation that the mining company had come and checked the well after the collapse.

          If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

          by weck on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:49:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sinkhole not due to oil extraction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, MGross

    The Bayou Corne sinkhole is not the result of oil & gas extraction.

    The oxy-3 well and cavern were created to extract saline brine used for chemical feedstock. The well was not used for oil or gas extraction. Gas and oil are not trapped in commercial quantities in salt domes as you claim. Gas and oil are not "pumped out of the salt domes" as you claim.

    Oil and gas are commonly trapped in sandy sediments against salt dome flanks, and that is why collapse of the cavern flank has released some oil and gas from the disturbed flank.

    Thanks for the mostly useful links, but use judgement with the "Examiner" articles as they are somewhat inaccurate and unnecessarily hyperbolic.

    Also, may I suggest that you change your inaccurate title and make corrections to your bullet points or just delete the diary.

    I don't mean to be disparaging as this story deserves more attention; I just want it to be accurate and not misleading.

  •  Well, I'm glad the offending (3+ / 0-)

    corporation is finally offering to buy out the affected properties, since entire neighborhoods in close proximity have been under mandatory evacuation orders for months as the sinkhole has grown and grown. Taxpayers probably got to cover that expense, don't know if the state has even tried to get compensation from the company.

    The dome was in use to store contaminated drilling waste, frack-water and such, rather than big caches of what are part of the U.S. 'strategic reserve' of petroleum. Other caverns in the area serve that purpose. The radioactive waste is what comes in during the drilling process, mostly radium and thorium from geological strata the wells pierce.

    enenews has been compiling various local media reports on the situation at the sinkhole since it started. Now it appears that crude oil is coming up from the fill volume, officials now concerned that other caverns may be failing and leaking. It's definitely a big mess, but national media has pretty much ignored the whole thing until last week. Go figure.

    •  Since AUG 2012 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, Joieau

        What more can I say.   This has flown under most sites for  a mere 7 months.
           This is what could only be said to be a 30 year unintended consequence of burying waste and magically expecting nothing bad to happen.

           Hell, I've linked enews off and on here for months!

            Jindal issued a State Disaster in Aug,2012 and has never bothered (although I suspect feared) to mention it outside his personal bubble.  

             The answer thus far is that there is no known solution.

              I'd recommend that everyone who's govenor wants full steam ahead on Fracking - be asked about this.   The "unintended consequence" is a non-answer and a "the State will cross that bridge when it becomes a problem and I am long out of office.

              FTR:  I don't  live in LA. and only began with enews because they were and continue to track Fukishima and other nuclear sites.

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