Louisiana Sinkhole: From the Frying Pan into the Fire

I am itching to explain the findings of the new geo-technical data that Don Marlin has so graciously provided, as well as many other findings, but at this time, another more pressing matter must be addressed for the sake of the residents who actually heeded the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ and vacated the area over 13 months ago.

In the following video, a question is asked by Mr. Mike Schaff, and it is a most urgent and pressing question.

Mr. Schaff: “Sir, one of the stipulations for it to be safe for the evacuation to be called off, was that; the sinkhole to be stabilized, the caverns to be stabilized, and the gas within the aquifer was to be at, or below hydrostatic pressure. What I am hearing tonight is that these stipulations will change. Am I correct?”

Speaker: “That is what is being presented by these scientists, some of which are Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission, and the Blue Ribbon Commission has been tasked to make that offer, or to make that call. So they have found something with that MiPht, and, and, and all the other tests, that says there is a lot of gas at the shallower depths, but ultimately the BRC are going to be looking very closely at the results of this effort, and then they will convene and have the responsibility to make that call.”

(Click ‘PLAY’ and then click on the top left corner, left of ‘Playlist’ and select Video #8. Start at the beginning of this Part 8 video to hear the exchange)

Now for those that haven’t followed this strange and disconcerting development, allow me to explain. Scientist’s have come up with the brilliant ‘Old’ idea of using a dual phase vapor extraction system (DPVE) to de-water the areas surrounding the Bayou Corne subdivision, and thus, they believe will relieve the methane pressures by intercepting the gas at the 20-30 ft. level underneath the whole entire neighborhood, using only four of these monstrous dinosaurs, which is normally used to clean up soils that have been contaminated by ruptured gas or petroleum tanks buried under the ground. Here is a picture of just one of these monstrosities:

Dual Phase Vapor Extraction Monster (1)

(Photo courtesy of The Advocate)

http://theadvocate.com/home/7049897-125/vacuum-system-alleviates-methane-buildup

(ASIDE: How would you like to live next to one of these four proposed DPVE pumps and their backup generators running 24/7?)

I will shortly go into why this system is doomed to fail, but the harder question is one of the sudden shift in policy, especially since not ten minutes prior to these statements, Dr. Gary Hecox stated that this will not be over until the gas has been emptied from the MRAA (aquifer).

Essentially, they are hoping this system will work to make it safe to return to the neighborhood for those who have to tend to their evacuated properties for maintenance, and for those remaining there, to feel somewhat safer. In that regard, I applaud their efforts. However, it does not truly affect the situation that gave rise to the Mandatory Evacuation in the first place.

The DPVE does not affect but a small area of concentration, hence the reason four of these extraction units must be strategically situated around the neighborhood, and does nothing to alleviate the other methane and VOC’s escaping all around the subdivision and it’s attending swamps. Also, and unless scientist’s have devised a way to create a DPVE 30 acres long and 30 acres wide to sit over the area of the sinkhole, then there shall be no alleviation of the copious amounts of raw hydrocarbons, gases, and other materials being emitted by the sinkhole mining disaster proper.

None of this low technology addresses the subsidence zone that is expressing itself west of the mining disaster and sinkhole either. The subsidence area is progressing at it’s own pace and is unstoppable. As the ground subsides, ever increasing water levels are noted, and will always follow the subsidence, whether it is one foot or ten makes no difference if your house is under water. No plans to address this have been even considered the last thirteen months.

Actually, this seems to be another shot-in-the-dark experiment to see if it has any effect whatsoever on the neighborhood, so that the benchmarks can be changed by the Blue Ribbon Commission from a stable state system of hydrostatic pressure of the methane gas within the aquifer, to one of shallow area gas extraction, in order to allow the Mandatory Evacuation to be cancelled, and to sound the ‘All Clear’ for residents to return to their homes and say they are safe.

This is a fairy tale. Considering the voluminous amounts of evidence of the Blue Ribbon Commission and their admittedly incestous ties not only to the Solution Mining industry, but specifically of their career-making, or ending connections to the Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute, as proven in an earlier article;

Louisiana Sinkhole: SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest

then it would be the height of stupidity for these very Commission members to weigh in on a very unproven technology contained within the parameters of this poorly understood geology, and seriously adverse environmental conditions, to even entertain the notion of recommending the lifting of the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ without years of study to back up those claims.

To illustrate the almost insurmountable difficulties in establishing that no gases of any kind are escaping the DPVE’s range of operations, then let’s look at what the advantages and disadvantages of the dual phase vapor extraction methods are:

Advantages:

  • Proven performance over a wide range of conditions. Requires no downhole pumps, but is flexible enough to allow their use if necessary.
  • Minimal disturbance to site operations; can be used under buildings without excavation.
  • Short treatment times (usually 6 months to 2 years under optimal conditions).
  • Substantially increases groundwater extraction rates.
  • Can be applied at sites with free product, and can be combined with other technologies.
  • Can reduce the cost of groundwater treatment through air stripping within the vacuum extraction tube.

Disadvantages:

  • Single-pump systems are expensive to implement at sites with medium to high-permeability soils, and effectiveness. Dual-pump systems may not be effective in low permeability soils.
  • Difficult to apply to sites where the water table fluctuates unless water table depression pumps are employed.
  • Treatment may be expensive for extracted vapors and for oil-water separation.
  • Large volume of extracted groundwater may require treatment.
  • Requires specialized equipment with sophisticated control capability.
  • Requires complex monitoring and control during operations.

Courtesy of the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/oust/cat/dualphas.htm

Although I share the concerns of many of the Evacuees, and of those not evacuated, then I say to please pay attention and evaluate every utterance of the Blue Ribbon Commission and to seriously critisize any communications coming from their end, but please remember, that ultimately, the decision is not up to the Governor, the BRC, or anyone else, other than as John Beaudreaux stated, and that the final decision is up to the OEP, and in the end to the Parish President Marty Triche, whom have all publicly stated that if they feel it is not safe to lift the Mandatory Evacuation Zone, then they are prepared and willing to face down all comers in court to ensure the safety of the public, and not just the residents by themselves.

This man made mining disaster has put into consideration the ultimate fate of Hwy. 70, subsidence rates in other areas of the Parish, (such as the continually sinking roadway on Hwy. 69, just before it intersects with Hwy. 70), and the motoring public that uses this major artery between Morgan City and Baton Rouge. Since this will most likely continue on for years, and please remember that every time a Scientist has opened his mouth with a prediction thus far, that Mother Nature has proven how very little they truly understand about the nature of this mining disaster that has stolen the very lives of so many people in the region.

So, until that time comes, I do not feel that it is very likely that ANYONE will call for the Order of Mandatory Evacuation to be lifted, and most especially not because of an Electrolux solution that amounts to another untried experiment within the bayous of Bayou Corne.

electrolux

Photo courtesy FlyingCuttleFish of the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle

Again, I may be wrong, and the BRC will turn on the residents like rabid dogs, but there are way too many other considerations on the line that prevent such a proclamation to even be uttered in the coming year, and would still do nothing to mitigate the damages already suffered over the last 13 months, and will make absolutely no difference in the ongoing court cases. Legally, the damage has been done, and no mitigation measures on earth can restore the damages of the last 13 and a half months.

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13 thoughts on “Louisiana Sinkhole: From the Frying Pan into the Fire

  1. ■Substantially increases groundwater extraction rates.
    ■Can be applied at sites with free product, and can be combined with other technologies.
    Dual-pump systems may not be effective in low permeability soils.
    ■Difficult to apply to sites where the water table fluctuates unless water table depression pumps are employed.

    Does anyone see a pattern here? Is this another ploy to obtain fresh water to pipeline to Texas Brine’s Oxy Geismar #2, and Oxy-Taft 9 and 10??

    ■Large volume of extracted groundwater may require treatment.

    After Sonny Cranch’s admissions as shown at: https://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/louisiana-sinkhole-questions-and-answers-and/

    Where Sonny Crach admitted that Texas Brine had removed brine from Oxy 3A to send over to Oxy 2. In other words, from the ‘Sinkhole’!

    Sonny Cranch Answer 3. “Not sure what you’re asking. We did remove brine from OXY 3A and pumped it into # 2 to re-send it out as brine, since there is no connection from Oxy 3A to the brine pipeline.”

    Question 4: Has there been a Blow Out Preventer installed on Oxy-Geismar #1 or #3A? Why? Is Oxy 1 still in service? Dr. Hecox reported gas in the Cavern. Why would gas be in the casing or cavern?

    Sonny Cranch Answer 4. “Blowout preventers were used on both wells. On OXY 3 A during the tagging operation and on Oxy 1 during the effort to install a geophysical sensor.”

    So forgive me if I may think just as Texas Brine and the State ‘Officials’ may be thinking right now to extract the most amount of profit out of this disaster as they possibly can.

    • This is the same thing that happens most or all of the time. Texas Brine pretends to be helping the residents when actually their just finding ways to increase their own profits. Could be Texas Brine is hoping to pay for their negligent actions with a portion of the profits made during the creation of these negligent actions. The residents will loose their livelihoods and Texas Brine will be the winner.

      • Freedomrox, your analysis and fact finding have really helped my understanding of this underreported disaster in the making. Thanks!

  2. Good to see the analysis! Of tremendous concern, I would think, is the EPA statement,
    “Requires complex monitoring and control during operations.”
    Does Texas Brine have a 24/7 trained staff to perform these functions at the four test locations? It can not be just a 911 or homeowner response. An accident with this kind of operation could be a very large explosion. And WHY does EPA mention the concern..BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL FOR A REAL DISASTER. What insurance company does TB have to cover a problem with these devices? Homeowners sure will not! If the Blue Ribbon gives a green light to these devices..then the State may OWN any damages or injuries. Has anyone contacted the company providing these dinosaurs to see what their guidelines..and LIABILITIES are? The gentleman in one of the videos was acting as if this was sooo simple..its not. But hey, we have him on record with the video..wonder who he has for insurance-and is he the advisor? They are playing God here with their efforts..

  3. UPDATE: The Blue Ribbon Commission’s answer to Mike Schaff’s question about the DPVE, and if or how it would affect their decisions regarding the lifting of the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ Order. All of you owe Mr. Schaff a big ‘Thanks’ for bringing this issue out into the open, and spurring the BRC to address the community, and give what comfort it can. WTG, Mike!

    http://dnr.louisiana.gov/assets/OC/BC_Commission/BRC.Memo.Final.pdf

    Snippet: This has led to some members of the community and others to wonder whether or not this system could be used to satisfy the standing BRC criterion that “in order to lift the evacuation order, gas pressure in the MRAA and overlying aquitard has to be maintained at or below hydrostatic pressure.”

    This question was posed to the BRC and after discussions and deliberation, the BRC offers the following comments:
    • The BRC continues to recommend that one of the benchmarks it will use to recommend to state and parish officials when it would be safe to lift the evacuation order is that gas pressure in the MRAA and overlying aquitard has to be reduced to and then maintained at or below hydrostatic pressure.

    • Actually Bones, 2014 was a lousy year. My mother died, 2 dogs and three cats died, and then I break my ribs and develop pleuresy.. Long strange trip it’s been. As for an update, I’ll allow a resident to update you… The sinkhole is quite a bit larger now….

      “this is Randy Rousseau and I do know alot about Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne I remember all those people and also remember skiing and swimming in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou with no bubble sites. Most people that they interview were not native to the area we are why don’t they ask us our opinion ? Don’t want to know the truth and can’t handle the truth. Trees fell in two weeks ago and was at code 3 for an extended period of time since christmas no word about that. ALL IS WELL”

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