BAYOU CORNE — Cleanup of vegetation and muck floating in a 4-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish resumed Monday after operations were halted more than a month and a half ago because of an edge collapse that threatened two workers, officials said.
A long-reach excavator began pulling out vegetation headed for the landfill Monday while the machinery was stationed at a safe point on an access road along the sinkhole’s southeast side, officials said.
“They are going to try to get as much as they can,” said Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Texas Brine Co. LLC of Houston.
The sinkhole was found on Aug. 3 on Texas Brine’s property between the Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne areas south of La. 70 South and near an underground company salt cavern. The cavern was carved out of the Napoleonville Dome through decades of solution mining. The damaged cavern is suspected as the cause of the sinkhole, which forced the evacuation of residents in 150 households.
A timeline was not immediately available from Cranch or parish officials, but John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said cleanup of diesel range hydrocarbons on the surface of the sinkhole would follow.
Periodic collapses along the sinkhole’s edge have hampered cleanup. Sometimes trees have been brought down along with the saturated earth.
On Aug. 16, two workers with Texas Brine’s cleanup contractor Clean Harbors of Norwell, Mass., were rescued from their boat after an edge collapse. The men escaped, but the tree to which their boat had been tied pulled it down.