Bayou Corne Sinkhole


Oxy Geismar Well No. 3 (serial number: 180708) is the cause of the sink hole.

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Map of the Bayou Corne sinkhole incident
Yellow Circle = Bubble SItes, Blue Line = Salt Dome 10,000′ Depth Contour, Yellow Patch with Orange Outline = Sink Hole, Red Line = Salt Dome 1000′ Depth Contour, Orange Circle = Oxy Geismar Well No. 3, Blue Circle = Brine Well, Red Circle = Gas Storage Well, Light Blue Circle = Plugged and Abandoned Well

Bayou Corne Sink Hole Incident Timeline

  • Oxy Geismar Well No. 3 (serial number: 180708) is the cause of the sink hole.
  • The well was first permitted in April 15, 1982 for the mining of salt water brine from the Napoleonville Salt Dome.
  • In 1995 Texas brine received permission from Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to pump soil contaminated with Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) into the well.
  • In early September 2010, Texas Brine began reworking the cavern well, milling a section of salt higher than the existing cavern roof, at 3,400 feet deep, to see if the upper strata could be mined. A DNR permit for that work was issued in May 2010.
  • In 2011 the well failed a pressure test showing that the integrity of the well had been lost. Texas Brine Company sent a letter to Louisiana Department of Natural Resources reporting the failed test and expressing concern over the possibility that “a breach out of the salt dome appears possible.”
  • On June 6, 2011 the well bore above the cavern was plugged with cement.

It has been reported to OEP that the Louisiana National Guard helicopter pilot/crew, using infrared equipment, flew over the slurry/sinkhole site on the night of August 9, 2012 and observed a 10-20 foot growth to the North & South.

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality reported that tests done on August 8, 2012 showed “no detectable levels for naturally occurring radioactive material” at the surface of the sink hole or in water samples taken from the sink hole.

The diesel fuel present at the site is from the “diesel blanket;” a layer of diesel fuel put into the brine filled cavern to protect the cavern roof and steel well casings. 

A patrol conducted by boat on August 9, 2012 showed no change in the bubbling gas.

LEAN will continue to monitor this incident and work with the residents of Bayou Corne as this incident continues to unfold.

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