Increased bubbling and seismic activity stop work at giant sinkhole

Published: Mar. 22, 2013 at 7:09 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2013 at 7:22 PM CDT
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Flyover picture of sinkhole on 3-21-13 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
Flyover picture of sinkhole on 3-21-13 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)

GRAND BAYOU, LA (WAFB) - Increased bubbling on the western side of the sinkhole and increased seismic activity have stopped all work in and around the giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish Friday.

The Office of Conservation announced the sinkhole alert status has been raised to code three, which means all work inside and around the area have to stop until further notice.

The statement on the Assumption Parish Police Jury website says "Seismic monitoring has detected elevated subsurface activity in the area around the sinkhole and Oxy 3 area indicative of fluid and gas movement below the sinkhole, and water movement in the sinkhole has been observed, along with increased bubbling along the western side of the sinkhole. The seismic activity is limited to the Oxy 3/sinkhole area, showing no indication of impact to the Oxy 1 area. Monitoring is constantly ongoing in the area and Conservation will advise the public of significant changes in subsurface conditions."

Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left a nine acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and have been for the past seven months. Most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week. The sinkhole is now about 12 acres in size.

Governor Bobby Jindal visited the sinkhole site and spoke to residents earlier this week. It was his first visit since the sinkhole appeared.

Jindal's visit came 10 days after California based environmentalist Erin Brockovich visited residents at Bayou Corne with California based attorney Tom Girardi. Girardi has offered his legal services to any resident who decides to take further action against Texas Brine and all parties responsible for their troubles over the past seven months. Brockovich says litigation, if things come to that, could take months or even years to resolve. She says her role, as it has been for nearly two decades in dozens of cases like this one, would be to keep the community united.

On March 13, Texas-Brine, a Houston based company which owns the salt dome that caused the sinkhole, announced they would begin assessing the homes and offering buyouts and settlements for the 350 people evacuated.

"Our commitment from that state is we will hold Texas Brine accountable. We're going to make sure they're responsible for cleaning up mess they have caused. We are going to do everything we can to make sure that they truly make this right," said Governor Jindal during his visit to the sinkhole.

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