Dangerous gas encountered at sinkhole vent well

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Posted: Nov 20, 2012 6:01 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2012 6:01 PM
Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury

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Topics: bayou corne, vent, well, hydrogen, sulfide, gas, dangerous, flammable, toxic, poison, assumption, louisiana

BAYOU CORNE - Workers setting up a vent well near an Assumption Parish sinkhole encountered a dangerous gas and shut down operations, according to the parish police jury.

They said the workers drilled the well into the top of a salt dome near the sinkhole, and began venting it when hydrogen sulfide gas was detected. The well was shut in to prevent any release, and workers set up a perimeter around the well with gas monitors to make sure no gas escaped from the well.

Parish officials said hydrogen sulfide, which is highly toxic and flammable, does sometimes occur naturally in the cap rock of salt domes. This salt dome lies under the Texas Brine facility where the sinkhole appeared in August, but the dome does not extend into the nearby Bayou Corne community which was evacuated after the sinkhole appeared.

The police jury said environmental monitoring in the community has included tests for hydrogen sulfide, which hasn't been detected so far.

DEQ's Office of Conservation will be meeting with Texas Brine representatives to further assess the next steps to be taken with the well.

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