Town swallowed by sinkhole


#1

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#2

Texas Brine Company. Responsible care. Good chemistry at work. Nice catchy slogan, so obviously they are not too blame.

It's the other companies that created the caverns through injection mining? "The hundreds of salt caverns that honeycomb the substrata, as companies like Texas Brine take pains to point out, are mostly safe, most of the time." Pass the buck and CYA.

Incredible.


#3

It would have been nice if the reporter had provided any link whatsoever between this Texas Brine Company and the sinkhole, beyond "the sinkhole is under land they lease." There really need to be some supporting facts between that bit and the jump to "and here are all the people whose lives are being ruined by Texas Brine," or the whole thing just looks like a speculative, agenda-driven hit-piece.

(Important note: I've never before heard of "Texas Brine Company" before today, and I'm not saying that this isn't their fault... I'm just saying that the piece as presented presents no reason to conclude that it is.)


#4

Ah, yes. The utopia that is a state with an anti-regulation Republican majority with a Libertarian chaser.

Learn much from Katrina? Nah...

I wonder what would have happened if we had just allowed them to succeed? Perhaps the entire south would have turned itself into a giant, toxic sinkhole by now. We could have just walled it off and let the conservatives implode on themselves. Then give the south a few hundred years to grow over and we could repopulate the wasteland.


#5

It would have been nice if the reporter had provided any link whatsoever between this Texas Brine Company and the sinkhole

"The town blames the regulators. The regulators blame Texas Brine. Texas Brine blames some other company, or maybe the regulators, or maybe just God." - Source


#6

I couldn't see where a town had been swallowed. The hole looks to be in the middle of swampland.. Did houses and other buildings get sucked in? OK, people were evacuated, but was that as a precaution or are their houses gone? I don't understand why a link to oil and gas was made (very briefly). I'd like to understand that better. The whole report was very thin on any technical detail and laden with townsfolks' opinion and speculation.


#7

I think those caverns are naturally all over the place in that area already, and the issue would be unsafe land use causing one to collapse, not some hush hush industrial underground water-filled cavern technology.


#8

I couldn't see where a town had been swallowed. The hole looks to be in the middle of swampland

FTA:

Today it covers more than 24 acres and is an estimated 750 feet deep.

OK, people were evacuated, but was that as a precaution or are their houses gone? I don't understand why a link to oil and gas was made (very briefly).

From what I understand, the ground isn't stable and the area is pretty toxic. Plus, it's probably a good idea to leave your home before it possibly gets swallowed instead of waiting to see what happens. Also, there's nearby pipelines and underground storage areas that could be compromised by the unstable ground and you don't want to be near those when/if they go to shit.

Basically unregulated industry has killed the place just like West Virginia, etc. if you can't find any links to oil and gas industry in this situation, then I'm not sure you're really looking.

Also, once a hydrocarbon smell resembling diesel fuel hits your nose, you tend to want to get away.


#9

and the issue would be unsafe land use causing one to collapse

You mean by the industry, correct?

not some hush hush industrial underground water-filled cavern technology.

What are you referring to there, fracking?


#10

Maybe. But there have also been disastrous salt mine collapses before (caused by accidental penetration of the mine when drilling for oil...) as well:


#11

The Texas Brine company isn't an oil or gas company. But they do offer storage services for hydrocarbons in the cavities created by their solution mining. I can't find out (in my quick looking) whether the hydrocarbons that are bubbling up in this case are from storage or natural (possibly mobilised by the collapse of salt caverns). I can still find no evidence that a town has been swallowed.


#12

Apparently the salt dome this is near houses massive amounts of pressurized liquid butane,so this might flick the worlds largest Bic.


#13

I've been following this story for some time. I would not say that a town has been "swallowed" but quiet settlements are being made with residents to leave their homes.

Salt domes are of course natural formations in the swampy gulf coast. However, they are not naturally empty "caverns". Texas Brine is engaged both in pumping water into salt formations and selling the resulting brine as well as storing chemicals (mostly petrochemicals) in the resulting spaces. This is how the U.S.'s "strategic petroleum reserve" is stored that we hear about whenever there is a spike in gas prices. I haven't seen any documentation about whether or not this site was being used for the strategic petroleum reserve.

Salt domes also often contain natural reservoirs of oil and gas. Given that the whole thing has been collapsing for a while, I doubt whether anyone knows at this point what percentage of the oil and gas which has been leaking out were natural or stored.

If the dome was not being used to extract brine and store hydrocarbons, it would be much much less likely to have breached in this fashion.


#14

The Texas Brine company isn't an oil or gas company. But they do offer storage services for hydrocarbons

Sounds close enough to me.

I can still find no evidence that a town has been swallowed.

24 acres, 750 feet deep and growing...


#15

Hey, I just read a book about something like this. Uh oh. http://www.williammeikle.com/aboutthehole.html


#16

Yeah, sure, but that doesn't mean a town has fallen into it.


#17

that doesn't mean a town has fallen into it.

Is there a "Pedant of the Year" contest going on I don't know about?

Well, anyway, I do hope to God that @pesco cleans his title up to correct this huge mistake that's affecting so many people.


#18

I don't know if discussing the accuracy of reports of towns being swallowed is really "pedantry". Especially if no town was swallowed. Did a town get swallowed or not? Kind of important to the residents of the town. But not important to me at all, so I'll stop now.


#19

The subsidence (and preliminary bubbling events) occurred in a bayou -- a forested swamp -- not beneath a town. Near people, yes; but no town was swallowed up.

From the Louisiana DNR:

Bayou Corne Incident 2012

June/July 2012 - Assumption Parish government officials, state government, and federal agencies join in an investigation of unexplanied [sic] bubbling in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou

August 3, 2012 - Area of wooded swamp located in Bayou Corne began to subside and slurry and this activity led Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh to issue a Declaration of Emergency

At the same time, Assumption Parish declared a state of emergency and Governor Bobby Jindal in Proclamation 82 BJ 2012 declared a statewide emergency as a result of the threat of subsidence and subsurface instability that could threaten the lives and property of citizens of Louisiana.

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=939


#20

See also Wikipedia:

Here's an especially juicy excerpt:

"In July 2013, a cavern operated by Dow Chemical two miles away from the sinkhole encountered a problem which didn't pose an immediate risk to public safety. The cavern stores 600,000 barrels of liquid propylene."