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Costly implosion of Tangipahoa water well raises new questions about seismic testing

11 months 6 days 8 hours ago Wednesday, August 09 2023 Aug 9, 2023 August 09, 2023 10:46 PM August 09, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

TANGIPAHOA PARISH- The Tangipahoa Parish Water District plans to investigate if an implosion at the Dutch Lane Water Well was caused by the seismic testing done in Lake Maurepas.

In April, a water well owned by Tangipahoa Parish Water District imploded. Now, investigators are looking to see if the implosion may be connected to detonations used by Air Products during a carbon capture project on the lake. 

These detonations or "shots" were being fired by Air Products as they prepare to store carbon dioxide underneath of the lake. The water district doesn't want to place blame on Air Products yet, but question if these shots caused the $686,000 implosion on the Dutch Lane Well.

"It seems logical to me that if you do 9,000 explosive detonations on Lake Maurepas, you are going to have some affects in the area, and this is a possible affect," Don Marshall, treasurer with the water district told WBRZ.

To make sure, the water board chose to seek an outside legal council to know for certain the cause of the implosion.

So the question now is, was this implosion the fault of Air Products? They say, no.

A spokeswoman for the company says these explosive shots are small, and happened ten miles from the Dutch Lane well.

In a statement, the company says they hired experts to assess if the subsurface seismic survey on Lake Maurepas may have caused the explosion. A geophysicist says it is not just unlikely, but "virtually impossible" that any part of the Lake Maurepas 3D seismic survey could have any negative effect on the Dutch Lane well.

Read their full statement here.

“This Spring, the Tangipahoa Water District made Air Products aware of damage to the Dutch Lane Well in Ponchatoula and questioned if the company’s subsurface seismic survey, which is now complete, could have contributed to the deterioration of the well more than 1,700 feet underground. Air Products hired outside experts to assess if the subsurface seismic survey on Lake Maurepas may have caused the Dutch Lane Well issue, and the experts’ investigations concluded “[p]ublished reports and measured data by [Air Products’ contractor] indicate that the seismic acquisition shots for the Lake Maurepas 3D would not be detectable at the Dutch Lane Water Well and did not damage the well.” The same geophysicist concluded “it is not just highly unlikely, but virtually impossible that any shot taken as part of the Lake Maurepas 3D seismic survey could have any negative effect on the Dutch Lane Water Well.” The Lake is more than ten miles from the well damage, which occurred more than 1,700 feet underground. Our survey work occurred only 60 feet underground. Air Products conducted its seismic survey with monitoring equipment around the lake and never registered any readings approaching the USGS recommended limits for such activities. Air Products shared the findings of the investigation with the district this summer. In addition, Air Products’ legal counsel has requested maintenance records of the 28-year-old Dutch Lane Well from the water system but, as of today, has not received those records. We are committed to being a good neighbor in Louisiana and will continue to go above and beyond regulatory requirements to safely operate our project. There is no reasonable scientific basis for statements that Air Products’ activities had any effect on the Dutch Lane Well.”

But signed minutes from the Tangipahoa Water District contest these claims.

They say that Air Products only took into consideration a "single shot theory" and continue to say that the company did not take into consideration the "cumulative effects of thousands of shots over a period of time."

They also allege that the Dutch Lane well started experiencing issues in January of this year. They say that's "around the same time Air Products started their shot exploration."

Even if Air Products isn't to blame for the implosion, Don Marshall wants to make sure this never happens again and still has concerns about storing water under the lake.

"I'm not against carbon capture, I'm against dirtying the water for the sake of cleaning the air. We need clean water and clean air," Marshall said.

The debate over the carbon capture project has been hotly contested for a while. At the state level, Air Products was given the okay to inject carbon dioxide under the lake, even though some who live near the lake vocally opposed it, saying they were worried that the project would affect Lake Maurepas.

Air Products maintains that the carbon capture project is safe, and will start drilling on the south well this month.

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