Watch: Officials call in Louisiana State Police to giant sinkhole — Company kept dangerous gas a secret for 24 hours — People smelled hydrogen sulfide at their homes thinking it was rotten eggs (VIDEO)

Published: November 22nd, 2012 at 8:02 am ET
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Title: DEQ monitors air at homes near giant Louisiana sinkhole
Source: WAFB
Author: Cheryl Mercedes
Date: Nov 21, 2012

“This is Day 111 since news about the Assumption sinkhole really went south, since then it’s been one bad report after another”

[...] Henry Welch, a resident, said he smelled a rotten egg odor outside his home in Bayou Corne on Monday. Texas Brine later confirmed it was hydrogen sulfide gas found in vent wells near the now eight-acre sinkhole. [...]

[Ricky] Mabile joked now but admitted, until the discovery of hydrogen sulfide he thought he and his family were safe in Bayou Corne. [...]

Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director, John Boudreaux said he understands why people are uneasy. Boudreaux said Texas Brine waited 24 hours to let the parish know about the discovery of the dangerous gas.

Texas Brine claims residents are out of harm’s way but the parish called on the Louisiana State Police Hazmat team to make sure.

“We’re also discussing the extra watch we’re going to have to have for our air monitoring and so forth for presence of sulfide,” Boudreaux said.

You can’t smell it now but parish leaders warn that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is in the clear. [...]

Published: November 22nd, 2012 at 8:02 am ET
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17 comments to Watch: Officials call in Louisiana State Police to giant sinkhole — Company kept dangerous gas a secret for 24 hours — People smelled hydrogen sulfide at their homes thinking it was rotten eggs (VIDEO)

  • pcjensen

    that has to be criminal; not notifying people


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  • dosdos dosdos

    As I've been saying, Bayou Corne is a dead town. Everyone should evacuate. EVERYONE! Residents should sue for as much as they can and start looking for a new place to live.


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  • jec jec

    Attempted manslaughter. IF any company did this elsewhere..they would have officals in PRISON! Criminal and charges should be files. The people who smelled the H2S-should file assault and battery against Texas Brine. Probably the H2S detection..due to lack of oversight at the sinkhole..BUT if the company KNOWINGLY mislead the safety of the public..The State of Lousianna should get their emails and check! Or cell phone records and find out. One would HOPE its Texas Brine's decision….Russian roulette with lives!


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  • midwestern midwestern

    "You can't smell it now…that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is in the clear".
    No, it doesn't because according to Arclight's post on November 21 on properties of this gas, "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."


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    • amberlight amberlight

      Your comment, midwestern, reminded me of TWO experiences I've had with the insidiousness of gas poisoning:

      One morning (in my early 20s) I awoke in my little studio apartment feeling ill and devoid of energy. I called in to work to let them know I was sick. Later that morning my best friend stopped by with her boyfriend and when they stepped into my apartment, they immediately noticed an overwhelming odor of gas. The pilot light had gone out on the kitchen stove during the night and by the time I woke up my ability to smell the gas had been disabled. It was wintertime, so there wasn't even an open window to vent the place and the gas just kept building up, and along with it my tolerance for the smell of it.

      The other experience happened in a cave in the Azores nine years ago. I had been hiking on the island of Graciosa and went down into the Furna do Enxofre, where there is a boiling mudpot and further down, off the path, a sulfur pool. There was nothing to indicate that I should not go near the pool and I thought that if it were not too hot it would make a good foot soak. As I approached the pool I started to take deep breaths to get enough oxygen and my thinking was getting very fuzzy (even worse than normal!) so I grabbed my pack and hightailed it out of there. Back at the home of my hosts I related my experience and they exclaimed "Oh, we should have warned you! Two Portuguese sailors were found dead by that pool not long ago!"


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    There is nothing the local state patrol hazmat can do in this situation..other than remember they are cops..and the people that have done this and are covering it up..no matter position or connnections… are criminals.

    God speed…to them.


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  • GeoHarvey

    I have worked with hydrogen sulfide. In fact, I have been poisoned by it, though only slightly. It has two symptoms that people should know about. First, it temporarily takes away your sense of smell – I mean you smell absolutely nothing. Second, it gives a mild sense of euphoria. The result is that even people who are warned about it sometimes go from smelling it, to not smelling it, to falsely concluding that all is well. I worked in a plant where an office full of engineers and chemists, trained to deal with safety of the stuff, all went through the same false feeling of safety and passed out, narrowly averting death.
    The toxicity of hydrogen sulfide is similar to that of hydrogen cyanide. It is not safe to be around the stuff. People should be evacuated. It is not enough to tell them about it. A health official who would allow people to stay in their houses where it is bubbling out of the ground should be replaced.


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  • FREEDOMROX

    If the people could smell the H2S, then why didn't their so-called monitors go off? I can bet you dollars to doughnuts that they did, but since it goes to a central hub that is controlled by DNR, DHS, or most likely by Shaw…then you have the proof of a cover-up and those logs should be immediately demanded with a filed lawsuit. I agree with JEC…when controls are in place, and they had the capability to detect it, and did not put out warnings, then all of them are criminally liable. That is known as "Reckless Endangerment". Residents need to demand accountability after this latest in a long series of outrages, and file suits as they get the hell out of Dodge. I would rather drive 100 miles away and run out of gas and depend on a stranger's house rather than to be slowly poisoned to death until the inevitable explosion or implosion of the whole 6 square mile radius surrounding the "sinkhole".


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  • TearsOjoy

    We have had problems with H2S here in our little town coming from the aging sewer system. I have had to call city hall twice in 6 years to come up and flush the main lines because of the smell and health problems.


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  • irhologram

    It's OK. They've sent the state police to keep the hydrogen sulfide intoxicated revelers in hand.


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  • warf33

    I think you folks really need this information

    http://www.csc.noaa.gov/cz/CZ05_Proceedings/pdf%20files/Gagliano.pdf

    If you download a free program called PDF XChange Viewer you can make your own copy with the save function in upper left of the program. I would strongly suggest you make copies of your own before this document is removed. I suspect it is still available to the public strictly due to oversight. Prayers for all of you affected by this tragedy.


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    • Maggie123

      warf33 – I have only looked at opening paragraphs. I say looked because I'll need to settle-in to read this, but it strikes me as very interesting information on earth changes. Thank you!


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      • Maggie123

        If I'm picking up 'gist' of this brief 2005 report, the region historically experiences fairly steady geo-movement(s) – enough instability that complications to human drilling, cavern storage, etc might be expected. Interesting that author does not venture beyond: "The findings have important implications for Louisiana’s proposed multi-billion dollar coastal restoration program." (I suppose his study was not meant so say more, but I'd sure like to know what he thinks!)


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    • or-well

      Re: LA land submergence – good info with many implications.
      Significant when combined with the existing control of silt deposition by rivers.

      Maybe more important – possible geological movements that DON'T happen at a geological snail's pace and the impact on all the energy infrastructure there.
      The area's geology certainly news to ordinary citizen me.

      As for those who should know/need to know – is it a case of "Hope nothing happens on my watch!"?

      How much a fingers crossed, go-with-the-flow, don't make waves expediency for profit ? How much a case of deliberately ignoring precautionary principles? How much a case of better science happening?

      And what are the people in positions to do something about it going to do?
      Combined with the new Madrid fault system, there's plenty of potential for disaster in the area.


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  • irhologram

    You continue to view things as if this were about the profit motive. Really, it's not going to profitable at all to have nothing to sell and no way to ship it , all pipelines blown sky high by the butane and aceton stored just a thousand feet from the collapsing salt dome, that is giving off toxic, flammable fumes from the 5 vent wells to relieve building pressure and flare off toix flammable gases. But they had to cap a sixth vent well, because it released enough H2S for folks to report smelling it their houses. As the concentration increases, it becomes odorless and makes you drunk, so you don't realize you're being lethally poisoned.

    In the link, they KNEW since at least 2005 there was going to be huge land shifting along fractured interlaced in every Gulf state and positioned to set off a New Madrid fault line along the entire North American craton, with it's crisscrossing gas and oil pipelines, it's dams up and down the Miississippi and other major rivers, on whose edges are dozens of nuclear power plants.

    You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you store enough butane/acetone, etc., it takes a year to pump it out, right next to a growing volume of poisenous uncontrollable gas, it will at some point blow up, but then even if the worst happens and the Navy's future map makes the Mississippi hundreds of miles wide, Florida mostly gone, Boston, New York gone, inland 100 miles. BUT gas will continue to escape, and they KNOW this, HAVE…


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