DEQ monitors air at homes near giant Louisiana sinkhole

Published: Nov. 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2012 at 6:24 PM CST
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BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - Flaring at the Bayou Corne sinkhole site has stopped indefinitely at one well site. Texas Brine, the company that owns the property, submitted a proposal to the state Wednesday afternoon asking permission to cap one well for good after dangerous gases were detected.

Henry Welch, a resident, said he smelled a rotten egg odor outside his home in Bayou Corne on Monday. Texas Brine later confirmed it was hydrogen sulfide gas found in a vent well near the now eight-acre sinkhole.

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas that is both flammable and poisonous in high concentrations.

Residents were evacuated from their homes on August 3, when the slurry grew, but a lot of them stayed.

"Nothing blew up yet, and I work in my shop with electrical and nothing blew up," Ricky Mabile said.

Mabile joked now but admitted, until the discovery of hydrogen sulfide he thought he and his family were safe in Bayou Corne.

Mabile signed up to have the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality test the air around and inside his home.

Mabile was happy to learn no gas was detected on his property. But that's simply not enough for others in the community.

"Even if they tell me it's safe to go home. They are going to really make me confident that I can go here and sleep and sleep safely," Welch said.

Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director, John Boudreaux said he understands why people are uneasy. Boudreaux said Texas Brine waited 24 hours to let the parish know about the discovery of the dangerous gas.

Texas Brine claims residents are out of harm's way but the parish called on the Louisiana State Police Hazmat team to make sure.

"We're also discussing the extra watch we're going to have to have for our air monitoring and so forth for presence of sulfide," Boudreaux said.

You can't smell it now but parish leaders warn that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is in the clear.

Sonny Cranch, a spokesman for Texas Brine told 9News they will not flare any wells or clean up debris at the site on Thanksgiving Day.

Cranch added, Texas Brine will do a better job at communicating with parish leaders.

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