Giant Louisiana Sinkhole: Texas Brine says insurance company has put them in a hole

(Source: Texas Brine)
(Source: Texas Brine)

BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - The company that accepted responsibility for the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Bayou Corne claims an insurance company has put them in a hole.

Texas Brine filed a complaint with the state insurance department saying Arch Specialty Company has not reimbursed them for any costs associated with the sinkhole.

Texas Brine alleges it has footed the bills from the Assumption Parish Government since November and some $55 million from the state.

On Christmas Eve, workers found new cracks in the same spot where previous cracks were repaired in the lowest part of the south berm near the massive sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Authorities also report an increase in the micro-earthquakes in the area.

Work began Wednesday clearing the pathway for the new southern berm.  It should take about 30 days to complete.

History of the sinkhole

The sinkhole opened up in August 2012 and was roughly 1/24 of the size it is now. The sinkhole formed when an underground salt cavern collapsed.

In the past, seismic activity is reported, then the sinkhole burps up debris and then a slough-in happens. Burps occur when air and gas from deep in the sinkhole bubbles up. It can cause debris and an oily substance to float to the top. A slough-in is when the sinkhole swallows trees and land that is on the edge of the sinkhole.

Berms were placed around the sinkhole shortly after it opened up to keep the oily, debris filled water contained to the sinkhole area so it would not contaminate the area bayous.

It has more than a year since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes.

Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left what is now a 24-acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and the most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week. Texas Brine owns the salt cavern that collapsed, causing the sinkhole.

On August 2, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced the state will be suing Texas Brine for environmental damages caused by the failed Texas Brine cavern.

Parish and Texas Brine officials agree the situation is far from over. 3D seismic surveys show the sinkhole itself it beginning to slow and stabilize, but the recovery is focused on another danger; natural gas gathering underneath a nearby aquifer.

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