Officials at a Houston-based brine company told residents of a rural Louisiana town that it will be at least 40 days before they get definitive answers about an enormous sinkhole that opened up in Assumption Parish.
Mark Cartwright, president of Texas Brine Co., said Friday the company spent the last week "intensely focused" on an emergency response as they try to figure out the cause behind a sinkhole near Bayou Corne.
Residents near a large sinkhole that opened up in Assumption Parish are demanding answers and a plan of action from their state and local officials.
Officials told them Tuesday night at a community meeting in Pierre Part that they are doing their best to find an explanation for the 372-foot wide sinkhole that swallowed up bald cypress trees and evacuated dozens of people from their homes Friday.
State officials say preliminary slurry water samples pulled from the acre of swampland that liquefied into muck over the weekend indicate the presence of small amounts of diesel hydrocarbons.
The pond of muck, located in Assumption Parish, first appeared Friday night and grew quickly, bending a 36-inch natural gas pipeline buried 16 feet in the ground as the muck expanded. About 150 homes and several businesses were ordered to evacuate after Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency for the parish when the slurry area appeared to be expanding.
Officials in Assumption Parish say gas bubbles in Bayou Corne are producing a diesel-like odor.
An area of slurry was found Friday in a swampy area between Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne, about a half mile from Louisiana Highway 70. The area is at least 2,500 feet from the nearest home, officials say.
State police are monitoring the area, seeking possible additional bubbling sites.
Officials say they don't expect any highways to be closed or evacuations ordered as a result of the increased monitoring.