Bayou tremors, methane leaks months before oil catastrophe, Evacuation ordered
Cancer Ally bayou parish hit again by catastrophic oil and gas human rights abuse
Assumption Parish officials have ordered immediate evacuation of Bayou Corne area and Louisiana's governor has declared a state of emergency following two months of residents reporting "strong diesel" odors, earth tremors and finally, an expanding 200 ft. by 200 ft. sinkhole that engulfed trees early Friday morning and that officials now call a "slurry area." The area has allegedly been highly polluted by oil and gas companies.
Early Thursday morning, “an area of wooded swamp located in this area began to subside, engulfing large trees and creating a several hundred foot diameter area of a slurry mixture of muddy water and soil where trees and vegetation were the day before,” reports Bayoubuzz.
"My home moved, and my home shook. My home moved, and I'm on cement," Debra Charlet told WAFB news.
“Our houses shifting and cracks in our sheet rock and our foundation," said another resident, Jason Hugh.
President Martin Triche told News 2 that he has asked the National Guard to assist with the evacuation. http://www1.wbrz.com/news/people-living-...o-evacuate
The “potential failiure” of an inactive and plugged Texas Brine Co. LLC salt mining cavern, used to store oil and gas, is likely the cause of the "slurry area."
Gov. Jindal has declared a State of Emergency, “THREAT OF SUBSIDENCE AND SUBSURFACE INSTABILITY.”
Assumption Parish officials are ordering an immediate evacuation of the area, within Cancer Ally of Louisiana.
“Officials from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard and the Department of Environmental Quality have engaged with local officials in Assumption parish who are responding to the threat of subsidence and subsurface instability in the area of Bayou Corner in Assumption parish. DNR has issued an emergency order to compel the Texas Brine Company to take all necessary steps to evaluate the integrity of its salt cavern which ultimately may help."
People in Bayou Corne had been reporting a strong diesel smell and house tremors for weeks. Friday morning, however, no definite cause for the bubbling or tremors had been identified.
“In late June, officials in Assumption Parish began discovering more than a dozen areas near Belle Rose, LA in and around Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou where the water is roiling from escaping methane, ethane and propane,” Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) reported Saturday.
Thursday, an area southeast of Belle Rose, previously forested swamp, turned into a slurry of mud where trees sank. The area, originally around 200 feet in diameter, is growing and has prompted the mandatory evacuation of local residents.
The salt cavern in question, used from 1982 to 2011 as a brine-mining cavern where water was used to dissolve salt from deep within the Napoleonville Salt Dome, with the resulting brine water marketed to supply various industry needs.
“The cavern was never used for storage of natural gas or any other hydrocarbon, though naturally occurring gas is sometimes encountered in such formations and may have accumulated in the cavern after it was no longer active,” reports Bayoubuzz. “The company ceased operating the cavern in 2011, plugging and abandoning the well that was used to access it.”
In April, Texas Brine and Georgia Gulf complied with a judge's order to approve a pollution testing plan on Grand Bayou that began in May.
Salt dome storage caverns used for storing natural gas have previously failed.
"Since 1972 in the United States there have been at least 10 catastrophic events involving salt storage facilities; 5 where loss of life or serious injury as well as property damage occurred and 5 where only catastrophic loss of property occurred," reports LEAN today.
The great Gulf methane threat from BP oil spill 2010
DEQ conducted air monitoring at 92 residences with homeowner’s permission but reported finding no unsafe air-related pollutants. Homeowners might want to test their own properties, considering the DEQ is funded by the oil industry, as highlighted in Josh Tickell's documentaries, Fuel and The Big Fix that recently won Best Documentary at the international environmental film festival in Italy.
Methane leaks in Assumption Parish bubbling up in bayous and shifting homes on their foundations might be just the beginning of what could erupt throughout the Gulf Region.
In 2010, it was predicted that high pressure and high temperature oil released from the BP Deep Horizon operation over Macondo Well would force the melting of a huge deposit of frozen methane beneath the sea floor.
A Gulf water test sample that exploded, as a News 5 investigation team demonstrated, was then called a clarion call about days to come.
Dr. Samantha Joye and other experts have argued that the odorless yet potent greenhouse gas, methane has continued to seep into the Gulf of Mexico, contrary to study reports that a bacterium ate the methane in four months.
"Methane is highly explosive and can quietly kill. It also has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years). (See: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group 1, Chapter 2) "This means that a methane emission will have 25 times the impact on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years." (Wikipedia)
"In prehistoric times, large methane excursions have been linked with dramatic shifts in the Earth's climate" states Wikipedia that also explains that while methane is not toxic; "it is extremely flammable," "may form explosive mixtures with air," and "can cause asphyxia" because it reduces the level of oxygen in the air.
"Methane is violently reactive with oxidizers, halogens, and some halogen-containing compounds. Methane is also an asphyxiant and may displace oxygen in an enclosed space. Asphyxia may result.. The concentration of methane where asphyxiation risk becomes significant is much higher than the 5–15% concentration that forms flammable or explosive mixtures.
Methane off-gas can "penetrate buildings' interiors and expose occupants to significant levels of methane. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Communicable Diseases (NIDCD), medical complications/symptoms of exposure to methane (asphyxia) include:
• irregular breathing
"Exposure to extremely high levels of natural gas can cause loss of consciousness or even death." (NIDCD)
“A gas detector can be one of the most important tools to help protect residents where methane might be leaking,” according to the NIDCD.
The evacuation is expected to affect about 150 residents of the small Assumption Parish community, according to Assumption Parish Emergency Director John Boudreaux.
"Volunteers will open the shelter at