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.
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.
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.