Personnel monitoring the Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish detected a small disturbance, or burp, Saturday afternoon that released debris and hydrocarbons in the center of the 22-acre sinkhole.
After researcher Stephen Horton noticed increased activity in the sinkhole about 1:30 p.m., he alerted officials the incident had taken place, said John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Boudreaux said there are several air-monitoring sites in the vicinity and the readings after the afternoon event indicated that hydrocarbons in the atmosphere were well below harmful levels.
Boudreaux said burps occur when hydrocarbons located deep in the earth work their way upward and escape through the sinkhole into the atmosphere.
“It is a side effect of the sinkhole, but we do report it because individuals do smell it.” he said.
He said burps are occurring about once a month now, less frequently than they did when the sinkhole first emerged.
The sinkhole was discovered Aug. 3 after the suspected underground failure of a Texas Brine Co. salt dome cavern.
Faced with the growing sinkhole and subterranean gas released from the failure deep underground, residents in about 150 homes in the swampland community in Assumption Parish have been under evacuation orders for 11 months and counting.
Some residents are currently mulling buyout offers from Napoleonville Dome operator Texas Brine Co., while others have filed lawsuits against the company.