Gas found under slabs of 2 homes near sinkhole

Published: Apr. 3, 2013 at 10:18 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2013 at 10:52 PM CDT
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Aerial image March 28, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
Aerial image March 28, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
An updated map providing distance information from the sinkhole to LA-70 and the Bayou Corne...
An updated map providing distance information from the sinkhole to LA-70 and the Bayou Corne Community. (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)

BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - Contractors reported finding the presence of gas under two homes near the massive sinkhole in southeast Louisiana.

The Assumption Parish Police Jury Blog posted at 9:45 a.m. that Texas Brine verified gas is located under the slab of both the home and the shed at one location. There was another post at 10:20 a.m. stating gas had been discovered under the slab of a second home.

Both homes are on Sauce Piquante Lane in Bayou Corne. Officials said monitoring will continue to check for gas in the area.

It's been exactly 9 months since the sinkhole, now 12-acres wide, first appeared in the middle of Bayou Corne.

"I don't want to live like that. I want to leave, and Texas Brine needs to buy my family out," said Jennifer Gregoire.

Gregoire is one of dozens of Bayou Corne homeowners with air monitors in their houses. She is one of three who also have holes drilled through their floors---testing for possible gases below the foundation. On Wednesday, Texas Brine verified gas has been found under two homes on Sauce Piquante Lane—including Gregoire's.

"I'm sitting on the couch, clinching the dog---like oh my God we're about to just go up in flames," said Gregoire. "Then they turn around and, 'everything will be okay.' You ask a question, and it's not even the answer you were expecting. Swamp gas? Really?"

Testing is still being done to determine what those gases are and what effect they may have.

"I'm just wondering what all of this is going to mean now," said Dennis Landry.

Landry lives and owns a business on the other side of highway 70. Unlike Gregoire, he wants to stay.

"Myself and most of my neighbors on Sportsman's Drive are inclined to stay," said Landry. "It would take a buyout where they offer three or four times the value…the pre-sinkhole value of our homes."

Inspectors have been visiting homes around Bayou Corne, as the first step in determining values and beginning the buyout process.  So far no dollar amounts have been mentioned. As for a timetable, a Texas Brine spokesperson tells us homeowners can expect offers 30 to 45 days after the completion of appraisals, which will come after the inspections are complete.

Parish emergency operations director John Boudreaux says another resident on Sauce Piquante Lane reported bubbling in the bayou---north of the street. He says they have sent samples of that water off for further testing.

Work is again on hold near the sinkhole site due to more tremors. Seismic monitors picked up the activity early Tuesday morning. The devices are taking readings around the clock to determine when it's safe for crews to get back to work.

Meanwhile, the sinkhole commission created by the state of Louisiana government will hold a public meeting this Friday to discuss safety.

The meeting is open to the public. It will take place at the Woods Auditorium on the LSU campus from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

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 around 14 acres in size.

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

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