Texas Brine moves contractors into nearby homes
Bayou Corne sinkhole photo courtesy of Assumption Parish government.
BAYOU CORNE, La. (AP) — Texas Brine Co. has moved contractors working on the Bayou Corne-area sinkhole into three homes the company purchased from residents who left after the failure of a company-operated salt dome cavern.
Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch said two homes south of La. 70 have been occupied for three weeks.
A home north of La. 70 has been occupied since January.
The Bayou Corne community has been under a mandatory evacuation order since the sinkhole emerged Aug. 3, 2012, and flammable methane gas was released as a result.
Cranch said the homes will be occupied as long as the contractors work on the 29-acre swampland hole. He said housing them at the site allows Texas Brine to save on the cost of hotel reimbursements.
"They're using it as temporary housing so they don't have to make the commute from motels in Gonzales, Donaldsonville or wherever," Cranch said.
Scientist have long suspected that methane gas, which is at an elevated pressure underground, could rise and pose an explosive risk to residents in the area. The fear has been that the colorless, odorless methane could accumulate in enclosed spaces under homes or in closets and explode.
Methane gas has bubbled up in the bayous, and millions of cubic feet of gas have been burned off from underground.
Cranch pointed out no methane or hydrogen sulfide gases have been detected by air monitors installed in the homes of residents or outside in the community.
Under pressure from Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Brine began buying out some of the estimated 150 or so homes near the sinkhole last spring.
Cranch said Texas Brine closed on the last of 66 bought-out properties March 21.