Posted: Aug 9, 2012 5:10 PM by Russell Jones, Adrian Pittman
Updated: Aug 9, 2012 5:10 PM
Source: Department of Natural Resources
BATON ROUGE - This afternoon state officials ordered Texas Brine Company to drill a well to a salt cavern in Assumption Parish as part of their efforts to see what caused a sinkhole and bubbles in the bayou.
The Department of Natural Resources said Commissioner of Conservation Jim Welsh ordered the company to get a sample of the cavern's contents through the well, and provide daily updates on their progress which will be posted on the DNR website.
"Texas Brine has been ordered to implement these steps as soon as possible and move full-steam ahead. There will also be continual communication with the public on their actions," Welsh said in a press release.
Investigators with both the DNR and Dept. Of Environmental Quality have been testing the slurry area in Bayou Corne and seeping bubbles in the surrounding bayou. Today they said there were no signs of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) on the surface of the slurry area, and DEQ scientists were working to collect further samples as well as test the air quality for any radiation.
NORM is present in the earth's crust and reaches the surface through activities like oil and gas exploration or mining. It can also reach the surface through natural processes.
"It's one thing that we don't have to worry about, which is great news, but we still have to move forward and provide the data needed to everyone involved, so they can make more decisions," said DEQ spokesperson Rodney Mallett. "It's not over, this is just one part of it."
Residents of Bayou Corne have been under a mandatory evacuation order since a day after the sinkhole appeared. The surrounding bayou had also been bubbling from natural gas releases for weeks before the slurry area formed.
IMAGE: Ascension Parish Police Jury