Unanswered questions, frustrations remain after Bayou Corne community meeting

Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 3:10pm

A community in Assumption Parish meeting got heated after Texas Brine Officials and representatives from its contracted companies tried to give an update to residents of Bayou Corne.

"We've been out of our homes for six months now. We are looking for some realistic answers. We are getting tired of hearing all the technical jargon," Kenny Simoneaux, Bayou Corne resident, shouted.

People living in Bayou Corne wanted details on what Texas Brine's game plan is to get them home. Instead, they left with more questions.

"I don't trust anything that we've heard so far," Wallace Cavalier, Bayou Corne resident, exclaimed. "We hear the same thing over and over again. Everything is safe. They have an answer for everything, and they really don't know nothing. Mother nature is going to have to handle this."

First the company broke down its plan for an permanent levee to contain the sinkhole. It would prevent containments inside the sinkhole from slipping into the surrounding waterways. Texas Brine officials say they expect to have a preliminary earthen levee complete in two weeks.

Right now the Texas Brine lists the sinkhole as 8.6 acres in size. So far, they have removed approximately 5 million cubic feet of natural gas from the Bayou Corne community.

The next step is seismic testing that uses vibrations to paint a picture of what's going on under ground.

"Of course I've been out of first grade for awhile now. A first grader could have understand how he was talking," Simoneaux was outraged. "I hate being talk down to that way."

Kevin Hill, of Kevin Hill Consulting, hired by Texas Brine to oversee the 3D seismic monitoring, including the testing on top of the failed Brine cavern. Crews will be going into the community. Bayou Corne residents can expect to see vibrator trucks and air guns (equipment attached to flat bottom boats) in the area. Workers will use them to send vibrations in to the ground that will be picked up on measuring equipment around the area. Officials said it will take until at least mid April to wrap up testing.

"I don't see any scientist or anybody in this world correcting this problem," Cavalier disagreed. "Mother nature is going to have to correct this problem."

The third party companies hired by Texas Brine to complete the testing need permission from property owners to add geophones to measure some of the vibrations. Property owners who attended the meeting were skeptical about the new procedure. The companies tried to promise property owners their homes would be monitored and recorded before and after the testing to ensure no damages occurred to any properties. If damages occurred the companies promised to compensate the property owners. Residents said the promises are hard to believe.

"We are tired and this getting worse. It's unbelievable," Simoneaux stated.

The State officials set a deadline for 3D seismic monitoring to be completed by April 15. After that scientists still have to analyze all the data, and it could be months before the mandatory evacuation order can be lifted.

Until then, the community remains stuck hoping someday they'll get to move on with their lives

"The land is contaminated.The water is contaminated. The air is contaminated. It is not a safe place for anyone to live," Cavalier described.

A second meeting is scheduled for February 6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Assumption Community Center. The meeting will only be state and local officials answering questions.

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