Officials: High levels of ‘extremely dangerous gas’ reported near giant sinkhole — Newspaper removes ‘poisonous’ from headline

Published: November 21st, 2012 at 1:12 am ET


Title: 4:35 p.m. Texas Brine Reports H2S at Sonic Well
Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury
Date: Nov. 20, 2012

Texas Brine has reported high levels of H2S from their sonic vent well that is drilled into the cap rock. The well was shut in due to these levels. DNR’s contractor, The Shaw Group, is currently investigating. We are currently waiting on additional details from DNR.

Please be advised that H2S is an extremely dangerous gas. Unlike methane, it is heavier than air and collects at low to the ground levels. No community air monitors have detected H2S. Monitoring will continue as usual.

Title: Hydrogen sulfide gas found in sinkhole-area vent well
Source: The Advocate
Date: November 21, 2012

Texas Brine Co. has shut down one of its two vent wells […] after a small amount of potentially deadly hydrogen sulfide gas was released to the atmosphere, company officials confirmed Tuesday.

Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Houston-based Texas Brine, said […] “It was barely a minimum amount that went into the air” […]

Parish officials said in a separate blog post Tuesday that no community air monitors detected hydrogen sulfide, but warned residents about the discovery, saying high concentrations of the gas were found inside the vent well.

“Please be advised that H2S (hydrogen sulfide) is an extremely dangerous gas. Unlike methane, it is heavier than air and collects at low-to-the-ground levels,” the blog post says. […]

Louisiana Office of Conservation officials said they would be meeting with Texas Brine over the latest developments. Parish officials said Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, the state office’s agent for the sinkhole incident, also would be investigating. […]

See also: [intlink id=”hydrogen-sulfide-sinkhole-hit-500-ppb-after-hurricane-isaac-high-action-level-vocs-exceeded” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 21st, 2012 at 1:12 am ET


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27 comments to Officials: High levels of ‘extremely dangerous gas’ reported near giant sinkhole — Newspaper removes ‘poisonous’ from headline

  • Yucca mountain sucks! for sure

    However, getting rid of the crap the nuker have already com"piled" is necessary.

    All depositories suck, for sure. Nuke sucks.

  • arclight arclight

    Exposure Effects

    Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is a toxic gas and the health hazard depends upon both the duration of exposure and the concentration. The gas is an irritant of the lungs and at low concentrations irritates the eyes and the respiratory tract. Exposure may result in headache, fatigue, dizziness, staggering gait, and diarrhoea, followed sometimes by bronchitis and bronchopneumonia (Sax and Lewis, 1989). There is some evidence of elevated presence of adverse health symptoms in communities exposed to long-term low levels of H2S in the environment (Bates et al., 2002; Legator, 2001), such as in geothermal areas, and the unpleasant smell of H2S can be a nuisance. Asthmatic subjects do not appear to respond as readily to low levels of H2S as they may do to SO2. Sense of smell to H2S is lost at concentrations below those of harm so people may have little warning of the presence of the gas at dangerous concentrations. Very large concentrations result in,,,,,

    the H2S is not volcanic/geothermal then??

    • arclight arclight

      Geothermal in Louisiana
      Louisiana is one of only 14 states that is developing geothermal projects. Currently, Louisiana is developing a GHCP and a GGR plant. The GHCP will use water from a natural gas plant to produce 50 kWh of energy. The GGR plant will be located in Lake Sweet by Cameron Parish and will produce enough energy to power 2,000 to 5,000 homes.
      Louisiana has installed the largest system of GHP’s in Fort Polk. Since installation in 1996, it has produced a 26 million kWh energy savings and consequently an estimated reduction of over 22,000 tons of CO2 per year. The cost savings to the Army has been 345,000 per year for the 20-year contract term and 2 million every year after the contract.

      Future of Geothermal in Louisiana
      Louisiana has a great potential to do more in the area of geothermal because the gulf coast has one of the hottest surface temperatures in the country and the state has many naturally occurring aquifers and brines. A mandatory RPS would push this technology even further.

      • weeman

        For the life in me I can not understand why mankind did not take the avenue to geothermal power over nuclear, this plant is a bundle of energy all we have to do is plug in ( drill holes ), clean renewable energy.
        The only reason is the paranoid powers of the world crave enriched uranium, in the next 50 years how many countries will join the nuclear club, lots, if every body has nuclear weapons which is inevitable, we're is the deterrent then.
        Madness runs in the nuclear family they are all interbreed.

  • markww markww

    There is no telling what nasty caldron of materials will come out of this sinkhole. Chemicals change and mix and turn into new substances all the time. It could be anything FROM A 2 Z


    • 16Penny 16Penny

      Hey Mark,

      I am suprised they didn't try to blame the rotten egg smell on a massive fish kill like out in CA near Los Angeles and Salton Sea a few months back.

      There are only a few places that H2S comes from naturally. One is anaerobic digestion of plants/dead animals, another is from oil and natural gas production. A third is from volcanic activity. All three sources are closely connected and are possibilities in the area. My guess is that the gas is dissolved in the oil from big hum and the other unannounced source. Still I have to agree with you Mark, anyone within several miles needs to be ready to go or gone if you can until this situation plays out. Several of the officials have come clean and said that may be weeks, months or years.

      God bless the people of LA and please listen to what the are telling you, then question it.

  • jec jec

    State of LA instructs montioring of homes by Texas Brine. Just do the monitors work? Do they alarm when gas is detected? Does Texas Brine monitor and report? Is the home owner responsible to monitor? What danger is there from the poisonous gases just discovered?

    PS..IF a homeowner is to monitor..means they must go to the unit or at least be NEAR the monitor in their homes..what if the gas there is poison? Texas Brine has a suggestion?

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      Hey jec, I understand why many people didn't bother watching all of the latest informal and formal town meetings. In the formal parish meeting, our friend Hecox said and said again that the situation required "industrial" monitors. While he did not say specifically what the monitors detect, we assume they are capable of detecting natural gas at the least. The other thing he discussed was that the monitors would have to be directly linked to a monitoring agency, similar to an alarm company if not the same.

      So no, the residents would not have to watch the monitors and report readings or alarms. No they do not have to go into the unit, they (shaw I believe, maybe texas brine) were requesting any evacuated homeowner with a slab foundation sign paperwork allowing the installation of the monitoring equipment in an attempt to prevent homes form exploding due to concentrated gasses. They were also discussing installing ventilation fans in rooms with little or no air circulation within the community, similar to precautions taken for radon gas.

  • irhologram

    And so, now, they have had to close one vent of two vents that were used to prevent pressure build up…so logically now pressure will increase twice as fast on the methane toxic gas now admitted to come from BELOW the level of the cavern, and was being flared off, as I understood it, to prevent explosion of the toxic mix of methane et al coming from what has now meen admitted to be an area BENEATH the bottom of the sink hole by at least 30 feet. H2S is highly flammable, as is methane…and now only is a health problem to breath…the fact that it builds in a low layer close to the ground means its ripe for explosion.
    Hydrogen sulfide (British English: hydrogen sulphide) is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the … So put that together with the explosiveness of methane, and the butane stored a 1000 feet away that was projected to take a year to move…and you have the scenario potential of 100 Hiroshimas…which many EXPERTS of been trying to tell you FOR MONTHS…but many here have been in normalcy bias. Until YOU…YOU who consider yourselves sentinel canaries in the field of energy…until YOU take this seriously…this need for immediate Eva auction…perhaps orchestrated by church groups (for Pete's sake, they relocated thousands and thousands of Guatamalans "underground" when it was against the law 40 years or so ago…

  • jackassrig

    From Sclumberger (pronounced Slumber-J)website

    "An extraordinarily poisonous gas with a molecular formula of H2S. At low concentrations, H2S has the odor of rotten eggs, but at higher, lethal concentrations, it is odorless. H2S is hazardous to workers and a few seconds of exposure at relatively low concentrations can be lethal, but exposure to lower concentrations can also be harmful. The effect of H2S depends on duration, frequency and intensity of exposure as well as the susceptibility of the individual.
    Hydrogen sulfide is a serious and potentially lethal hazard, so awareness, detection and monitoring of H2S is essential. Since hydrogen sulfide gas is present in some subsurface formations, drilling and other operational crews must be prepared to use detection equipment, personal protective equipment, proper training and contingency procedures in H2S-prone areas.
    Hydrogen sulfide is produced during the decomposition of organic matter and occurs with hydrocarbons in some areas. It enters drilling mud from subsurface formations and can also be generated by sulfate-reducing bacteria in stored muds. H2S can cause sulfide-stress-corrosion cracking of metals. Because it is corrosive, H2S production may require costly special production equipment such as stainless steel tubing….

  • jackassrig

    Sulfides can be precipitated harmlessly from water muds or oil muds by treatments with the proper sulfide scavenger. H2S is a weak acid, donating two hydrogen ions in neutralization reactions, forming HS- and S-2 ions. In water or water-base muds, the three sulfide species, H2S and HS- and S-2 ions, are in dynamic equilibrium with water and H+ and OH- ions. The percent distribution among the three sulfide species depends on pH. H2S is dominant at low pH, the HS- ion is dominant at mid-range pH and S2 ions dominate at high pH. In this equilibrium situation, sulfide ions revert to H2S if pH falls. Sulfides in water mud and oil mud can be quantitatively measured with the Garrett Gas Train according to procedures set by API."

  • irhologram

    Until YOU take this seriously, the press and columnists will NOT bring pressure through the national media to get these people to safety…no…I don't think they should go to FEMA camps…start a movement to cross match families with appropriate evacuee families. The PEOPLE can do this on our own. We have the power to survive IF WE HAVE the WILL to survive. Remember, it was a comments BLOG that brought this to the national media's attention in the first place.
    Sorry, (from above) now is NOT only a health problem to breathe…H2S is highly flammable. So they can't flare it because I suspect It now blankets the entire area…had to close one vent…twice the pressure build up when the clay can only handle 15 psi… You DO get this, right?

  • irhologram


    Oh, swell. From your post….
    H2S can cause sulfide-stress-corrosion cracking of metals. Because it is corrosive

    So. All the crisscross sing gasoline pipes in the area are subject to cracking and corrosion…possibly exposed for months? Swell. Just swell.

  • irhologram

    That would explain the extremely bent pipe in August and the "floating" opine section in, I think it was early October…

    Be VERY sure. THEY have known about the H2S for a long time….

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    Frankly, Texas Brine should pay for the relocation of the town, then collapse the salt dome. All they are doing is tippy-toeing around on thin ice, while dragging the entire town around with them, hoping that it doesn't give out underneath them.

    The fact that they shut down two of the wells tells me that this company has no interest in assisting the town, they are only trying to get the resources out of the ground before the entire thing collapses. They've invested X amount into the location and they want to get Y amount out before they pull out. Any assistance they give cuts into their bottom line so they will do as little as possible, and only the amount that is required to continue running.

  • irhologram

    Oh, this is BIGGER than Texas Brine. Remember when they called in INTERNATIONAL experts more than a month ago…and NOBODY knows what to do? I am TIRED of people here saying "Don't cry wolf." The wolf is not at the door. The wolf is IN THE HOUSE. Who will PAY? Uh uh. This is now about who will LIVE?

    • Anthony Anthony

      Poisonous gasses released from an uncontrolled geological industrial disaster. We already have Fuku…. what the hell?

  • Anthony Anthony

    Holy crap!!!!

    **after a small amount of potentially deadly hydrogen sulfide gas was released to the atmosphere**

    How is this really going to roll out?

    So screwed up and so screwed.

  • irhologram

    It's going to blow up…that's how it's going to roll out. Yes, it's toxic to breathe but H2S is highly FLAMMABLE and forms a blanket on the ground.. And the pipelines are corroded and also will blow up. No wonder the crews do NOT want to work there (see other stories today) and why they are getting Thanksgiving WEEK as holiday.

  • irhologram

    Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, said officials believe any risk of hydrogen sulfide coming from the other five vent wells — three of which are flaring methane continuously — is very low because they are shallower compared to the other well.

    But he said additional air monitoring was conducted around the five other vent wells and no hydrogen sulfide was detected.

    John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said the flares would not burn off any hydrogen sulfide that might come up from the vent wells.

    The purpose of the five wells is to remove gas inside the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer at 100 feet to 130 feet while the vent well that hit the hydrogen sulfide is the deepest of any of the vent wells at a depth of about 430 feet, parish and company officials have said.

    Ok. So there are 5 other vent wells, trying to relieve pressure as the SURROUNDING area to the sink hole cracked it and is squeezing material up due to the pressure beneath the entire area….it was the weakest point. The H2S is known to be in the Napoleon Dome. It is only a matter of TIME before it breaks through the clay elsewhere because the LA clay can only stand 15 psi.

  • irhologram

    My question is WHY would they not be able to flare off the H2S? TOO flammable? Because, otherwise, wouldn't it just burn off along with the Methane? Or does it create an even deadlier gas when burned? Anyone know WHY?

  • irhologram

    Oh, I see. burning it…or oxidizing it…creates sulfuric acid. I guess the folks there can keep looking at their pocket change as the new "canary. H2S will turn coins black…among other things.

  • GMB

    A concentration of 10 ppm H2s will cause immediate death. A standard laboratory test tube if released could kill 250,000.


    Hydrogen Sulfide is always a precursor to oil. Big Hum is not creating all of this methane. The mysterious outside source is not mysterious at all. It is coming from the Gulf of Mexico through the migration zones along the Miocene. Not just at Magnolia Salt Dome, (now named NPLV Salt Dome),everywhere that it can escape from. Bigs things comings soon.

    • WindorSolarPlease


      From day one, many have thought there was a connection between the gulf and things that they did to the salt domes.

      Not saying the worse is going to happen (I hope not), but I would like to know the States that would be effected, if it did.

      If I was living in the surrounding areas of the sinkhole, I would leave. I can't say that enough. It's not worth taking a chance.


        It's not just coming from Macondo, either, but BP did rupture the Gulf Continental Shelf down to a magma vent. If you truly want a clue, look up W & T Offshore, Inc. They have been messing with "Big Hum" for a while in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. All along the Miocene, on shore and aff shore. Big Player in all of this, and continuing on BP's "good works".