BAYOU CORNE — Assumption Parish officials have relocated the site of a weekend briefing where Bayou Corne-area residents will be given information on planned natural gas venting and the positioning of geo-probes on private property near a growing sinkhole in the parish.
The briefing originally was scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday under a tent at the Sportsman’s Landing boat launch on La. 70 South in Bayou Corne, which has served as a command post for officials working at the sinkhole. Because of forecast rain, however, the meeting has been switched to 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Hall, 3304 La. 70, in Pierre Part.
Parish officials said they planned to focus on the geo-probes, including showing a photograph of one of the probes, which are polyvinyl chloride pipes with filters attached to one end that are driven about 50 to 60 feet into the ground.
Attempts to reach John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, for comment were unsuccessful on Friday.
The sinkhole was discovered early on Aug. 3 in swamps between the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou areas on property owned by Texas Brine Co. The sinkhole, which DNR officials think was caused by a failed Texas Brine salt cavern, has forced the evacuation of residents in 150 households in those areas.
In a blog posted Friday on the parish’s website — http://assumptionla.wordpress.com/ — officials said they haven’t received any data from Texas Brine since an exploratory well entered the salt cavern on Sept. 22 and underground testing of the cavern began.
“We assure that this information will be shared upon receipt,” the blog reads.
Sonny Cranch, a spokesman for Texas Brine, said Friday that Texas Brine officials were still awaiting the results of those tests.
“We are still waiting on results on the analysis of samples of the solid and liquid materials that have been taken from the cavern,” he said.
Cranch said tubing 4 inches in diameter was inserted into the well bore stretching from the wellhead to the roof of the cavern below.
The idea, he said, was to allow “a nice, smooth access” to the cavern for more diagnostic tests. He also said sonar tests are being run on the cavern to see what is inside.
“They are taking this most-recent reading and then literally overlaying this data with the sonar that was done prior to the closing of the well a year ago,” Cranch said. “That’ll give them a pretty accurate position of what it looks like on the inside.”
In addition, he said, Texas Brine workers are preparing to remove the snubbing unit that drilled the final 900 feet of the observation well.
Parish officials said they expect increased vehicular traffic during the weekend, but do not expect any road closures.
Cranch also said an additional tree sloughed off into the sinkhole on Friday.
That tree was near a 1,500-square-foot section that caved into the sinkhole on Tuesday.
The continued growth of the sinkhole has kept Texas Brine workers out of the sinkhole for fear of its instability.
“We were hoping to get onto the sinkhole to remove vegetation to get better access to the water and the surface, but we’re going to wait until we feel a little bit more comfortable,” Cranch said.