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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Louisiana Contingency Plan for Collapse of 2nd Sinkhole

Gov. Jindal warned Monday at a meeting in Baton Rouge with officials that deadly hydrogen sulfide could be released and another sinkhole could form if Texas Brine LLC’s second failing cavern collapses and he warned about increased instability in the Napoleonville Salt Dome, also collapsing.

A Contingency Plan has been enacted after learning that the company's second failing cavern is "less than" 200 feet from the salt dome outer wall.

The area will soon be a National Sacrifice Zonewhether or not the governor succeeds with his pressuring Texas Brine to buy out residents, as he said Monday that he is doing. 

Second failing cavern less than 200 feet from collapsing salt dome edge, Contingency Plan now in Green Status

A Contingency Plan is now in place in the "sinkhole' disaster area after learning Texas Brine's second failing cavern is only 200 feet from the edge of the collapsing 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome.

"The proposed contingency plan is based upon three color levels (green, yellow, and red) of potential seismic activity associated with the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 and the related action level as described below," the Continency Plan text reads. "The response is currently in green status." (See the full Contingency Plan below)

Gov. Bobby Jindal warned that three major public safety issues are at hand involving the collapsing salt dome, being called a "sinkhole," that has thus far swallowed nine acres of Assumption Parish swampland and still hungers for more.

The governor warned that two major factors could impact public safety if the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 cavern were to collapse: a new sinkhole developing and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) released from the cap rock.

The governor’s office also warned that increased instability is possible.

Seven months after the disaster overtly began, Jindal says he'll visit the site of a 9-acre sinkhole for the first time next week.

The collapsing 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome has forced evacuation of people in 150 nearby Bayou Corne homes. 

Energy refugees displaced since early August have “strongly criticized the governor's absence,” WAFBreports. 

“In a new hands-on approach, Jindal visited at the governor's mansion Monday with parish leaders and area lawmakers to discuss the state's continuing response. He also says he's meeting Wednesday with Texas Brine officials to push for buyouts for the evacuated families.”

That “new hands-on approach” follows on the heels of celebrity human and earth rights advocate Erin Brockovich visiting the disaster area and displaced persons this weekend, urging that lawsuits are the only way for human suffering relief.

"Environmental activist celebrity Erin Brockovich drew national attention to Louisiana’s state of emergency with her weekend visit to the oil and gas industry’s salt dome collapse “sinkhole” disaster area, telling reporters an absolute risk of explosions exists, locals need to get out and they need to sue for relief.

"Brockovich and her colleague, California attorney Thomas Girardi, hired by some of the sinkhole zone residents, were in Pierre Part for a meeting Saturday to discuss relief through legal options for residents evacuated from Bayou Corne due to the historic collapsing salt dome “sinkhole."

“There is absolutely risks and potential for explosions,” Brockovich told WBRZ TV reporters. (See: Erin Brockovich’s LA Sinkhole Salt Dome Collapse S.O.S. Draws National Attention)

New reports regarding the Monday meeting with Jindal do not mention "explosions."The governor is pushing Texas Brine to buy-out residents.The area would then officially be a national sacrifice zone, as once was the freatest fear. Now, residents say they have suffered enough and want to move out and on with their lives.

Monday's meeting with Jindal included the following officials, who had pressured to meet with him about the oil and gas-rleated disaster:Assumption Parish President Marty Triche, Assumption Parish Police Juror Henry Dupre, Assumption Parish Emergency Operations Center Director John Boudreaux, State Senator Rick Ward, State Representative Karen St. Germain, Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office Captain of Special Operations Bruce Prejean and officials from the Department of Natural Resources, Governor's Office of Homeland Security, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Health and Hospitals, Department of Transportation and Development and State Police.


National attention has been drawn to Louisiana’s state of emergency following the visit by Erin Brockovich.
Erin visited the oil and gas industry’s salt dome collapse “sinkhole” disaster area, telling reporters an absolute
risk of explosions exists, locals need to get out and they need to sue for relief.
Brockovich and her colleague, California attorney Tom Girardi, hired by a number of the sinkhole zone residents,
were in Pierre Part for a meeting Saturday to discuss relief through legal options for residents evacuated from
Bayou Corne due to a historic collapsing salt dome “sinkhole.” (Image by:

Contingency plan outlined
During the meeting Monday, Jindal outlined a contingency plan for Oxy-Geismar No. 1 cavern, the other cavern owned by Texas Brine, after preliminary results indicated its sidewall may be less than 200 feet from the edge of the Napoleonville salt dome, closer than indicated by previous top-of-salt maps used to define the subsurface. 

“The proximity of the cavern to the salt dome increases the risk of structural instability of the cavern walls, the governor's office says,” reports WAFB.

Scientists say the “sinkhole,” formed after an underground salt cavern operated by Houston-based Texas Brine Co. LLC, collapsed. The company extracted brine and piped it to nearby petrochemical facilities.

Monday, the governor’s office released the following information about the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 Cavern Contingency Plan: Contingency Plan for Oxy-Geismar No. 1 Cavern

The proposed contingency plan is based upon three color levels (green, yellow, and red) of potential seismic activity associated with the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 and the related action level as described below. The response is currently in green status.

Green  ----
Seismic Activity: no confirmed micro-seismic events associated with Oxy-Geismar No. 1 Cavern stability detected. This is the current status. Action steps include:

1.      Implement monitoring system for La. 70 and prepare a La. 70 closure plan for implementation.

2.      Ongoing rock-mechanics modeling of stability of western edge of Napoleonville Salt Dome and updated to provide predictive model of short and long-term stability of the western edge of the Napoleonville Salt Dome, including the Oxy-Geismar No. 1 Cavern. Forthcoming 3D Seismic data and deep geologic core will be utilized in this process.

3.      Evaluate potential response actions to shore up structural integrity of Oxy-Geismar No. 1, if necessary.

4.      Direct Texas Brine Company to maintain wellhead pressure in Oxy-Geismar No. 1 at a level to be approved by state experts based on current conditions and operational considerations.

5.      Permitting and design work on providing alternative access in case of La. 70 closure, conducted by DOTD and its contractors.  

Yellow   ----
Seismic Activity: Initial confirmed micro-seismic events associated with Oxy 1 Cavern stability detected. Action steps include:

1.      Immediately notify Assumption Parish Officials, GOHSEP, and State Police upon confirmation that micro-seismic activity has been detected. This information means that Oxy-Geismar No. 1 shows signs of potential structural instability and that surface instability associated with Oxy-Geismar No. 1 is possible within two to three months, or as otherwise determined by rock mechanics modeling.

2.      Initiate response actions determined necessary to shore up structural integrity of Oxy-Geismar No. 1 if feasible.

3.      Operators of nearby hydrocarbon storage caverns are ordered to undertake all necessary steps to secure their caverns and flow lines, implement H2S (hydrogen sulfide) monitoring protocols, and prepare for evacuation of their sites as soon as possible. Continuous high-frequency reporting to DNR-OC of well/cavern pressures to begin for these caverns.

4.      All Napoleonville Salt Dome operators are notified of the situation and to implement H2S protocols.

5.      All other operators of infrastructure in the area are ordered to take necessary precautions.

Red  ----
Seismic Activity: Several hundred micro-seismic events associated with Oxy 1 Cavern stability detected during any 12-hour time period. Action steps include:

1.      Immediately notify Assumption Parish Officials, GOHSEP, and State Police that activity has been detected demonstrating that Oxy 1 Cavern shows signs of ongoing structural instability and that surface impact associated with Oxy 1 Cavern may be imminent. Evacuation will be recommended to local officials.

2.      Shut in all natural gas vent wells in the Bayou Corne area due to the potential for H2S release from cap rock in the event of a roof collapse of the Oxy 1 Cavern.  Natural gas vent wells will remain shut-in until appropriate H2S safety measures are implemented.

3.      Notify all operators in the area that structural instability of the Oxy 1 Cavern is ongoing and to take all appropriate actions to protect safety and the environment.

It has been over two months since LSU Professor Jeffrey Nunn’s public assessment of the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster worst-case scenario: that Napoleonville Salt Dome could become an underground collapsed Mt. Everest.


Mar. 8, 2013

 - Concerns Raised About Second Salt Dome Cavern; Sheriff Says Officials Need To Plan For ‘Sinkhole No. 2’; 

Giant Sinkhole To More Than Double In Size, "Could Take Out Highway 70, You Could Look At Loss Of Life"; 

Activist Erin Brockovich Tells Residents Near Sinkhole to "GET OUT" As Gas Pressure Could Result In Explosion!

New seismic surveys suggest a second Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern is closer to the Napoleonville Dome’s outer face than previously thought, leading the Assumption Parish sheriff to call Friday for the need to plan for emergence of a second sinkhole in the Bayou Corne area, however unlikely the possibility may be. 

Also on Friday, officials announced that Gov. Bobby Jindal will meet with parish officials in Baton Rouge about the sinkhole that formed last year.  That sinkhole was discovered in early August in a swampland area between Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou after the failure of another Texas Brine cavern carved from the same part of the salt dome containing the latest cavern that is starting to raise concerns.  

Scientists think the cavern that failed, known as Oxy Geismar No. 3, was mined too close to the outer face of the giant salt deposit and eventually underwent a sidewall collapse. admitting a great amount of rock strata abutting the dome. This led to the sinkhole’s formation, the release of crude oil and methane gas and the evacuation of 350 people from the Bayou Corne area for more than seven months.  

Jindal is meeting with parish officials Monday amid building criticism for his decision to decline requests for a sit-down with the evacuated residents.  “The Governor is meeting with local officials from Assumption Parish and state agency directors on Monday to determine what more can be done for citizens affected by this event,” the governor’s press secretary, Sean Lansing, said by email Friday.(Mar.8) 

Contributing Sources:

Before it's News

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