See UPDATES below.
I just spoke with someone on the ground in Assumption Parish, LA where a huge sinkhole has swallowed up acres of trees. A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for 150 homes and they expect the sinkhole to grow another 2000 feet. The sinkhole is over a natural gas storage area. Last night and this morning residents reported smelling a diesel like odor near the sinkhole.
WAFB has some reporting and I will update this post as I get additional information. VIDEO – residents speak out.
Earlier this month I reported about gas bubbling up near a blowout area near where the sinkhole is forming.
There are several pipelines in the area that were mentioned in earlier news today when they were calling it a “slurry.” There is also an abandoned well that was suspect. And we must remember that the bubbling in the swamp started after a blowout. But no one is talking about the salt domes that were used to generate chlorine then converted to natural gas storage. Scratch that. They are talking about the salt dome.
UPDATE: Well, you had to know Texas would be involved somehow. Hat tip to my BlueBloggin buddy.
BAYOU CORNE — The “potential failiure” of an inactive and plugged Texas Brine Co. LLC salt-mining cavern is likely the cause of a slurry area,
Scroll down to update on Magnolia Storage facility operated by Koch subsidiary.
The governor has declared a state of emergency.
The scientist I’m speaking with was the technical advisor on the Jefferson Island/Lake Peigneur event in 1980. VIDEO thanks to commenter, David. Another VIDEO.
People in Beaumont should know that they are storing natgas in a salt dome there. VIDEO Again, thanks to David.
Dave Schultz, vice president of asset development for AGL Resources talks about the new natural gas storage cavern being created within the Spindletop Salt Dome for Golden Triangle Storage. The finished storage cavern will eventually store 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Read about sinkholes in the FAQ.
UPDATE: Natural gas has been bubbling up in the bayou for 2 months but scientists have been unable to pinpoint the source. There is significant oil and gas infrastructure in the area. There is no positive link yet between Texas Brine Co. LLC and the sinkhole.
Employees and residents are experiencing health effects from the strong hydrocarbon odors.
Texas Brine and other salt dome operators use salt-dome cavities left behind from mining operations to store hydrocarbons such as natural gas for companies that lease the wells, company and DNR officials have said. Source
Pictures thanks to commenter William.
UPDATE: CALLER IS REPORTING A RELEASE OF AN UNKNOWN TYPE OF GAS COMING FROM THE SALT DOME. THERE IS A STRONG SMELL OF ROTTEN EGGS IN THE AIR.
This source says the hydrocarbons are naturally occurring.
The Texas Brine Company is the operator of record for the cavern in question, which was used from 1982 to 2011 as a brine mining cavern – in which 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.
See below for a differing statement about hydrocarbon storage from a worker.
salt dome is one mile wide by 3 miles long. It has 51 caverns, 19 of which are hydrocarbon. The remainder are brine. the volume / day from 3 of those brine wells is fairly substantial. I have been going down there regularly since the incident started. Plot just thickened. I was scheduled to be down there all day Sunday and now waiting on my phone to ring any minute w/ new orders bc of recent news.
Here (scroll down) is a map of the area showing the location of the bubbling, the sinkhole and the homes that are being evacuated.
More about Texas Brine Co. LLC:
PRODUCTS: Manufactures sodium chloride brine, table salt & drilling fluids Dried herbs, Spices or extracts, Cooking or table salt, Seasoning mix, Fresh herbs, Dipping sauces or condiments or spreads or marinades, Cooking sauce, Salad dressing or dips, Savory spread or pate, Vinegars and cooking wines, Sauces and spreads and condiments, Pickles and relish and olives, Seasonings and preservatives, CHEMICALS, CHEMICALS & ALLIED PRODUCTS, WHOLESALE: Drilling Mud, DRILLING MUD COMPOUNDS, CONDITIONERS & ADDITIVES, NATURAL GAS STORAGE SERVICES, PIPELINES, EXC NATURAL GAS: Slurry SALT MINING, SALT MINING: Common, WATER SOFTENERS, WATER SOFTENING SYSTEMS
FERC permit issued to Gulf South Pipeline Company LP a subsidiary of Energy-Koch LP allowing Gulf South “to lease, construct and operate natural gas storage and related facilities at the Napoleonville salt dome in Assumption Parish.” The name of the facility is Magnolia Gas Storage.
See page 24 of this report for a table of active gas storage fields in Louisiana. Notice the Gulf South Pipeline Company facility, Magnolia Gas Storage is listed.
Operations began at this facility in 03.
Early problems. This is not the first time residents have been evacuated.:
In 2003, shortly after it commenced operations, the salt cavern storage facility in the Magnolia Salt Dome in Napoleonville, Louisiana, experienced a gas leak due to a crack that developed in a well casing near the top of the cavern, leading to a release of 0.35 Bcf of gas and the evacuation of nearby residents within a one mile radius of the storage facility.
British Geological Survey: An appraisal of Underground Gas Storage technologies and incidents, for the development of risk assessment methodology
Magnolia, Grand Bayou, south Louisiana (USA)
The Magnolia salt dome is located in a sparsely populated area at Napoleonville, about two miles from Grand Bayou, south Louisiana (Fig. 25). In 2003, a cavern gas storage facility was constructed in the dome, operated by Entergy Koch/Gulf South (http://www.txgt.com/sec/Pipelines%2010K%2012-31-05%20FINAL.pdf; Hopper, 2004). On
Christmas Eve/Day 2003, only six weeks after operations began at the facility, around 30 people were forced from their homes by a natural gas leak that led to the release of about 9.9 Mcm of gas in a matter of hours.
Investigations revealed that the gas escaped from a crack in the casing of a well near the top of a cavern, some 440 m (1,450 ft) below the surface. It was eventually plugged at a point below the crack and four other wells were drilled in the area to monitor and control the release of leaked gas that was bubbling up from underground.
News about Enron subsidiary natgas storage facility in same area.
UPDATE: A 36″ pipeline is bent and risk of explosion is high. Officials are shutting down a stretch of HWY 70.
Fears that the sinkhole area could expand, sheer off nearby wellheads and release flammable materials prompted Friday’s evacuation order, which remained in effect Saturday. La. 70 South remined open to vehicular traffic until it was closed at 6 p.m. Saturday. SOURCE
We don’t seem to learn.
Thanks to commenter GhostBlogger for video. Robert from the comments provides news links to this explosion HERE and HERE.
See statement and photos from LEAN
See latest update HERE.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Robert Finne says
Earth tremors, gas seeps and now sinkholes. Assumptions Parish is having a bad year.
But they have money and jobs right?
Some of them may not have homes at this rate.
William Huston says
Can’t find any video yet.
William Huston says
PS: Lake Peigneur is 5 mi from the infamous Henry Hub (where US nat. gas prices are set), and the Corne, Assumption Parrish sinkhole is ~20mi it.
Fracking Crazy says
I know what I would do:
Find some divers, there are passionate divers who would probably volunteer to check it out.
Or even ask Search and Rescue Divers, who work for the city/state to follow the bubbles, there would be a line coming from the bottom to the top.
If I were into diving, I would be totally into checking it out, free. I would start with local diving clubs, or diving clubs that are around there.
I would see if the bubbles flame. Because it is so unstable and could be gas, I would not set the lake on fire, although, that would be my first inclination.
Just throw a match into it and see what happens.
In retrospect, taking a sample and seeing if it catches fire would be a helluva lot safer, because anybody with a brain that they use, knows.
I would go door to door and ask for donations to do private environmental testing of the water, not just the foam, it’s likely the foam is just a by-product of what’s really in there.
I would not drink the water from the lake, nor eat the fish, or swim in the lake.
I would sue the hell out of the operating company for life endangerment and loss of property value.
And then, I would get my ass down to the courthouse and vote all those crazy politicians out,
if there’s replacements, if not, you best just run yourself.
The gub’ment probably run better by itself than the damn clowns we have in our government right now.
It’s likely your neighbors would vote for you.
As for the sink hole, I’ve been told, during my many connections with spirit that all shale areas will be come a giant sink holes.
And I am happy to report, it will be good for mountain biking, once it all dries out, not so good for anything else.
Now I know there’s a sink hole in Colorado that has HWY 17 closed north of Leadville, that is above an old rail road, but I was also wondering what kind of production, if any, may be in the area.
That would cause all those fun roller coaster earthquakes that NT is enjoying….
Please Bozeman, respond, because it’s like a laugh a minute.
And the irony to bozo the clown, I think, truly it must just be a play on words. It’s better than cable TV.
Which BTW is more expensive than changing your electric to wind or solar.
Priorities, I guess.
I am a certified rescue diver. There is no way in hell…no way. #suicide.
I’m not a diver, but there’s likely so much heavy junk in that water as to make it deadly to enter.
Fracking Crazy says
Sharon, doesn’t it seem likely with geological formations, that this would happen with all disposal wells?
It’s really just a matter of biochemical properties and weight.
I will try to think of something bozotheclown would say:
It’s just like a:
A Frozen Margarita Mixer: You take the ice, the tequila, and margarita mix and then, you just have one nice blend of WTF?!?
I shouldn’t name call, it’s ungodly, but sometimes, I just can’t help myself.
Especially when it comes to all of this.
I think Industry is right,
there will be revolution…
if we can’t get industry/politicians to keep the people safe over profit.
It’s pretty simple. I explained it in my FAQs. Sink holes are inevitable because we are removing matter and injecting matter. But storing natgas in a salt dome is reckless endangerment. You can Google up endless examples.
ken deben says
Mankind’s Greed and Blunders are getting BIGGER….
Tim Ruggiero says
We never learn. We have put more value in a God of Money than God himself. Money is not evil-but having a love for money is certainly pretty close, especially when it’s confused for ‘success’.
If the Gov Jindal has declared an emergency, I’ll be curious as to the spin the news has and more so how Industry is going to not accept responsibility for this yet another disaster.
Our world was perfect but we had “improvements” to make.
Here’s a Hopi prophecy: When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, creeds and classes, and who buy their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They shall be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.
Fracking Crazy says
I am a Warrior of the Rainbow!!
Robert Finne says
In 1992 geniuses in Texas overfilled a salt storage dome and managed to blow an entire valley sky high.
Trust us they said, It’ll be fine they said.
20 year anniversary of that disaster and what have we learned.
There are quite a few cases where salt dome storage failed. We don’t seem to get a clue.
Ah, the Brenham TX explosion:
Makes you so trusting of these sites & their operators.
And here’s a vivid description of the Brenham, TX salt dome storage explosion as cited in the well-documented Wikipedia compilation of Pipeline Accidents in the United States since the 1890s.
1992. On April 7, a salt dome cavern used to store LPG & similar products was overfilled, leading to an uncontrolled release of highly volatile liquids (HVLs) from a salt dome storage cavern near Brenham, Texas, formed a large, heavier-than-air gas cloud that later exploded.
Three people died from injuries sustained either from the blast or in the following fire. An additional 21 people were treated for injuries at area hospitals. Damage from the accident exceeded $9 million.
And here’s the continuation of that very lengthy Wikipedia List. Wikipedia apparently decided to split up the lists since it was SO big. When we first saw these lists, we were in shock for several days. 🙁
“Pipeline Accidents in the United States in the 21st Century”:
We figure this latest accident in Louisiana will be on “The List” as soon as more details are known about it.
One year after Brenahm explodes:
About 50 families affected.
William Huston says
Looks like that F-ing Clean Burning Natural Gas does a LOT of damages to us and the environment long before it gets to the burner!!! Ha.
I cannot wait for our buddy John to show up in the comments on this one telling us that we need to calm down and listen to him.
Karen Burke says
Hello Fellow Barnett Shale Resident. I live in Haltom City surrounded by 4 frack ponds and 2 large compression staions and a couple other smaller ones. I wish I had found you sooner. I started a petition on Change.org titled Stop Natural Gas Fracking and clean up the mess created in Texas! I don’t know how much good will come of it since everyone I have been talking to is in denial that fracking is bad for us. And the EPA has been stalling with the excuse of conducting studies. I did not sign up to be a Guinea Pig!
I think we need a class action law suit against the people who ae profiting at our expense. Seeking a lifetime supply of chemical water filters for every home on the Barnett, as well as air filters & house plants that clean he air. Apparently Gerber Daisies and Chrysanthemums are superior in removing benzene from the air.
Anyway I this comment will help with collecting signatures.
You might have more luck with your petition if you word it a little differently. Ask to remove the polluter loopholes to 7 of our federal environmental laws. http://www.earthworksaction.org/library/detail/loopholes_for_polluters/ And the subsidies and tax breaks. That’s a good start.
Karen Burke says
Karen Burke says
Are you refering to the title or did you read the petition?
I don’t have a link to the petition.
Hi, Karen Burke: You may want to take a look at the Tabs across the top of the page here on BlueDaze.
Do you speak to your Haltom City, TX City Council about these issues? Many of us focus a great deal of time and energy on our cities since they have the ability via “Home Rule” to make stronger Gas Drilling Ordinances to protect us. What are your setbacks in Haltom City?
Here’s a list of blogs and web sites for groups working on all of this in the Barnett Shale area:
Karen Burke says
This is small potatoes compared to the potential damage if those earthquakes get any close to Commanche Peak Power Plant. The one last Saturday was only 8 miles away from it.
In case you missed it.
Karen Burke says
Thanks I was looking for that. Google maps shows what they have going in the Cleburne State Park Lake, pipelines as well as a compression station just north of it only 11 miles from Commanche Peak. Johnson County has 11 permits issued by the Texas Railroad Commission for waste water injection wells. I sure hope the Power plant can really handle the magnitude of earthquake we could have! I guess the focus here is to reform laws, where as I would like to see an end to fracking, and some effort into clean up. The majority of residents here in Haltom signed their rights over. With all the buried gas lines next to rail lines, at the airport, along the waterways we are prime for disaster. So I’m going to have a cookie… water the house plants and mind my small piece of land.
We want the same thing. We should meet for cookies and coffee. When I lived on the shale, I bought a bunch of house plants. I think it helps. I move a year ago but I still work with communities on the shale and I still have my plants. Now, when I drive into the Barnett Shale area, my eyes start burning horribly and my throat gets sore. The air is so bad it looks like I’m driving into Mordor.
Karen Burke says
Luther Oklahoma is surrounded by gas fracking and they burned yesterday.
Can you clarify what you are talking about? Thanks!
More than the Crosstex pipeline at risk:
Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack noted that two 20-inch natural gas pipelines owned by Acadian Gas run parallel to the Crosstex line and also were at risk from Crosstex’s line.
A number of pipelines didn’t plan very well for the 1994 San Jacinto River flooding:
Robert Finne & others: Back in 1975 in Michigan, an LPG pipeline was pumping into salt dome formation. But, someone at the pipeline forgot to open the brine release valve for the cavern! Pressure built up, until; Oops, this time the pipeline broke at a gouged spot upstream of the cavern, burning down homes. At least no one was killed, and the cavern didn’t fail, unlike Brenham.
“I don’t believe a word they say about the environmental or human health risk of this mounting disaster,” New Orleans-based environmental attorney Stuart Smith told Deborah Dupré Saturday afternoon.
That was after the Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou Monitoring Reports on the Assumption Parish official website, stated “no threats to residents,” so it would discontinue providing its monitoring data on that main event website.
Diesel like fumes are burning people’s eyes and throats yet news says there are no toxins in the air. They also claim there was no natgas stored in the salt dome. I guess all salt domes smell like diesel. They say it’s all naturally occurring.
Andy Mechling says
At some point, the residents of Assumption Parish are going to need access to the truth about the air they are breathing.
I believe that until effective monitoring / sampling of that plume – to include real time monitoring of the organic sulfur species – is carried out, and released to the public, there is no access to the truth.
Perhaps it is time for some true Rainbow Warrior out there to step up. Seriously; for the price of new Porche; one of you beautiful freaks could change the world right now. I’m not kidding even a little bit.
Truly independent monitoring could change the game right now for those people in Assumption Parish. The instruments exist. There are plenty of capable techs (yes including myself) willing to help out. Yet once again, in Assumption Parish, as in Barnett Shale, Eagle Ford, and oilfields beyond modern effective instrumentation will not be deployed. No one dares to do what needs to be done.
EPA does have access to some of the right instrumentation, if somewhat dated. Last I checked: EPA dept of Enforcement, still owns a Swedish-built OPSIS Open-path UV system, and Cary Secrest still works there. It’s been a few years. Those guys could help get to the truth at Assumption Parish. They’ve been there.
But would the truth ever get to the people? Has any of Mr. Secrest’s work in support of EPA enforcement actions involving ambient CS2 in Louisiana EVER seen the light of day? Somehow no.
(I did get a chance to see some of it at a conference in Baltimore once. It was very impressive. This gear can precisely measure ambient CS2 in the 1-2ppb range along a 500 meter path)
Sharon, you know I have long felt this way, and that I have long been very critical of the major environmental groups for their unwillingness to fund active monitoring projects in communities at risk.
Earthworks is great. They support you. Environmental organizing is great. Here we are, making a difference. I depend on your blog, I cannot deny.
At some point though, it needs to move beyond talk when it comes to descriptions of poisonous chemistry in the air. Are we waiting for agencies to do the monitoring for us at this point? Are we waiting for the attorneys?
I say its time for us all to act like grown-ups; and deal with a situation.
Here is what I am suggesting. It may seem radical to some, but I see this type of project as an obvious next step in the fight for clean air in American communities. We can start with Assumption.
1. Shop hard: Secure appropriate instrument.
2. Deploy device in Assumption: Plug it in and Shake it down.
3. Post real time concentration data stream to open website.
4. Post ALL QA, concentration data and Raw Spectral Data as archives.
5. Repeat as necessary.
No need for attorneys here. Nobody’s suing anyone here. There is no report to generate or ideology to defend. No risk assessment, no toxicity information, no source characterization, no downwind modeling, no meteorology, no secrets, no links to insurgent or counter-insurgent groups.
I think folks will warm up to the idea. Just numerical concentration data: unfiltered and verifiable: as required.
If such a project reported only what the instruments report, I believe such a project would be very hard to capsize legally. The posting of this type of real-time air toxics concentration data is very clearly protected as free speech. There is no malice; real or imagined.
Here’s the good news: There are now multiple instruments on the market with the advertised ability to detect and measure carbonyl sulfide and or carbon disulfide in the open atmosphere at sub ppb concentrations, and update those measurements as often as 60times per second.
Wouldn’t that be epic if some amazing goddess from the community like Karen Burke gained unlimited access to a truth-telling device like that? How cool would that be?
C’mon Rainbows. see the future!
We are a small, lean, mean org. We do not have porche money. But we did the Picarro thing in the Barnett Shale.
There are people at Assumption doing testing, but again, no porche money.
If you have specific recommendations, send them.
Andy Mechling says
I love earthworks. You know I do. I recognize that earthworks probably does’nt have a spare 90k lying around.
I really was/am trying to reach out to some wealthy Rainbow-type somewhere; and I honestly thought I was making specific recommendations.
You see, here in Southwestern Oregon; we get some great Rainbows. And Rainbows, really is a fairly specific term out here; relating to a fairly specific group of people.
Like the Rainbows who sponsor The Mystic Garden Festival, held every summer right here in Selma, Oregon. What a blast! Look it up. OMG.
This “gathering of the tribes” is hosted by the main Rainbow Tribe, and is very much an extension of the Rainbow Gatherings dating from the 70s. I never really took you for a Rainbow, Sharon, and I still don’t. I hope you can understand / I’ve certainly been wrong before.
The Mystic Garden is actually celebrated twice each year: Once in SW Oregon, and the other in Maui, HI in January I think. So cool! This particular subset of beautiful Rainbow people fly back-and-forth over the Pacific in order to bless the water and save the planet, all tax free, year after year. And I’m glad they chose our little town. These folks know how to put on a party like none I have seen. You are all invited.
Most of the tribe are not really all that easy to distinguishable from alot of the locals here, (barefoot dreadlocks hippies dressed in rags) except that they are strangers at the Lake, and at the Mystic Garden, this means they are probably quite wealthy and winter over in Hawaii.
In any case, there are a few vendors of air monitoring gear out there . . . advertising some gear . . . which could really shake things up if the gear were simply deployed by somebody / anybody.
Besides just providing gear, any instrument vendor is going to need to provide at least some level of technical support. Unfortunately, there will inevitably be proprietary software involved as well, which could lead to potential issues with data sharing. The project’s relationship with the vendor becomes all important.
Sometimes, vendors of this type of gear have been known to completely disappear “poof” as if they never existed. These folks are as vulnerable as anyone.
What the vendors will need to see is cash of course. In the absence of same, they might not even want to talk to a Rainbow Warrior. Rainbow Warrior would just need to swoop. But what about those licensing agreements? What’s in the fine print there? What type of support is included? etc etc.
Please understand that for some of these vendors; your money simply wont be good enough. They might not work with you. It’s sad. Move on.
Vendors can be located easily enough. I see no reason to place the cross hairs on some potential friendlies by naming them here. Better just to swoop when the time comes; and do the best we can, in my view.
If I were involved with the project; I personally wouldn’t care what the ownership status of the gear was or about the financials or purchase/ lease agreements at all. Why would I?
I would be concerned primarily with issues surrounding access, data sharing, data archiving, software licensing and technical support. All of this would need to be straightened away contractually, before any science of any type could go forward.
I do have some other specific suggestions. Any such community based monitoring project should endeavor to become a “proving grounds” for air quality monitoring devices. A stated goal should be to try to accommodate other scientists, with other instruments to become involved, and to encourage side-by-side “intercomparisson” studies whenever and wherever possible.
Yes, I say lets invite the agencies, and genuinely try to work with these folks. They should be curious about how their existing methods compare. I’m curious. Universities; come on down. Competing vendors should be invited. Titan gets invited, etc.
If other entities choose to share their results with us; we will post those results. If they choose not to share; we will post that. Either way, everybody should be invited to the big monitoring party. There is no judgement. This needs to be a big love fest.
I’m suggesting that through such a project, the communities themselves can begin to show EPA and the lesser agencies how it is that we wish they would behave.
We absolutely need a safe-house proving grounds for modern air quality monitoring equipment. My assumption is that the parish would work just fine. That sinkhole is a thing of ugly.
I have one other specific recommendation. And this is only my opinion, but if it were my project, I would flatly refuse to appear as an expert witness in support of the data in any type of civil or criminal proceedings. The only way I would ever appear in court would be as a hostile witness, under subpoena. I’ve been there and done this thing, and it wasn’t so bad. I was right and they were wrong, and it was easy to prove and really kind of fun.
Please know that the vendors will be very curious about this topic also. If such a project ends up in court . . . the vendors end up in court. The vendors end up in court against the biggest juggernaut the world has ever known. I say lets skip that part.
Besides the science, things like Rainbows and Sunlight and Wisdom and Prayer are all some pretty powerful stuff, and I don’t mean to poke fun.
Something needs to happen at Assumption Parish. Personally, I’m praying for a Rainbow. A true Rainbow Warrior, to be precise.
Is this too much to hope for?
alan beauvais says
because of big hum natural oil deposit just adjacent to the to the cavern built to close to the sidewall of the sediment material and disasterisly close to a large oil deposit under extreme pressure at about 6000ft. the oil pocket has broke thru into the dome because of the man made cavern. creating the sinkhole by displaceing sedament. oil is pushing up thru the displaced sediment and filling the upper level methane pockets to let the oil eventually serface from the preasure of big hum .at the same time letting water down to desolve the salt dome. the bass of the dome is 15000ft deep the peek is 700 the tremers are from the salt desolveing and the land sinking.
the experts knom precisely what is happening their just not saying what they already know for reasons that i cant understand. this is so scarry and incredibly sad to see whats to come. when i realized my heart pounded because i got such a bad feeling about this.. this area will see the worst man made disaster that the world has ever seen by thousands of times great than whatever man made disaster we have seen so far. so sorry all.
We can’t seem to learn to stop doing this stupid stuff.