Friday, November 23, 2012

LA Sinkhole Getting Bigger and Smellier

The sinkhole in Assumption Parish, LA just keeps growing. Now it’s about the size of six football fields- at least that’s the best estimate from the local police who took aerial photos at the beginning of the month.

The sinkhole formed when a salt dome (owned by Texas Brine) collapsed this summer. Recent earthquakes have contributed to further collapse. People living above the salt dome say they feel like they are “walking on jello”, and the USGS reported an average of a tremor a day earlier this month.

Now there are new concerns about rising concentrations of poisonous gas. Workers found high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide at a Texas Brine well near the sinkhole – they’re flaring these wells in an attempt to get rid of the gases in the salt dome. No high levels of the gas has been found in the community, yet, but state officials and Texas Brine representatives are monitoring the gas.

Unlike methane, hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, and collects near ground level. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), even brief exposures to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (greater than 500 parts per million) can cause loss of consciousness and possibly death. In many individuals, there may be permanent or long-term effects such as headaches, poor attention span, poor memory, and poor motor function.

Some residents living near the evacuation zone have reported foul odors and symptoms that reflect gas poisoning. But they have not received help with evacuation.

1 comment:

  1. You might think that people would start thinking about if all this is really worth the convenience of being able to have your lights on 24/7. The rest of the world is already waking up to the problems of fossil fuels, but not Americans. I guess this is just what happens when you let corporations take over a country. It hasn't been about what's best for the planet or humanity for a very long time. Even the vast majority of middle-class Americans have somehow come to believe that what is good for corporate profit is good for them. Happy Thanksgiving. It's black friday - now go and do your patriotic duty and shop like there's no tomorrow.