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At sinkhole: natural gas found in ground water

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Posted: Oct 11, 2012 9:59 PM by Trey Schmaltz
Updated: Oct 11, 2012 9:59 PM
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Topics: assumption, sinkhole, cavern, salt, brine

BAYOU CORNE- A ground water aquifer shows the presence of natural gas and is being linked to a failed salt brine cavern in Assumption Parish. Thursday night, state leaders put the pressure on Texas Brine to fix a mess they say the company caused.

The company must "undertake any and all necessary actions to assess for and abate threats to safety and the environment, including the natural gas in the aquifer," said Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh.

Crude oil has also been seen in the sinkhole and is connected to on-going issues in the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou area.

"We have been driven by scientific data in all of our efforts to determine the cause of the natural gas found in the aquifer, the formation of the sinkhole, and the presence of crude oil found on the surface of the sinkhole," Welsh said.

Experts believe when the deep salt cavern failed, and opened up to the outside, it allowed naturally occurring natural gas and oil to escape.

"Establishing how natural gas reached the aquifer and what caused the formation of the sinkhole was an important step in the process, but the work is not yet done. We will continue to hold Texas Brine accountable and ensure that this work is completed as quickly as possible, in a manner that protects their safety and the environment," said Welsh.

The sinkhole also forced a pipeline to float to the surface of the sludge. Lines under this part of Assumption Parish were shutdown when the sinkhole developed because companies weren't sure if the lines would hold.

Texas Brine has been told to increase its response to the issues in the community.

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