Residents prepare for start of drilling toward top of brine cavern

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POSTED: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 7:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 5:00am

Officials with Texas Brine Company say they could start drilling to the top of the brine cavern early Thursday morning.

From there it will take around 48 hours to reach the top of the brine cavern.

Though that's the most critical part of the drilling, it's the one residents have the most concern about.

People living in the evacuation zone got a warning yesterday to be prepared for the start of drilling now they say they're doing everything they can to be safe.

"The big thing is not knowing what's going to happen not knowing how safe you are," said Bayou Corne resident Bucky Mistreta. "We have some concerns because if they feel like they have to give us a 48 hour notice then that means they can expect trouble."

He's worried a new sinkhole or even an explosion could happen during the drilling process.

"There is more seismic activity in the area just like there was before the original sinkhole," said Mistreta. "Who knows could there be a new sinkhole right underneath our property."

He says he's not waiting around to see if something bad happens.

"We are in the process right now of taking some of our valuables and some prize possession that we have with us taking them and putting them in a safe place," said Mistreta.

Others residents plan to stay put. Assumption Parish Officials say a mandatory evacuation will remain in place until tests are complete at the cavern. But, Residents say they don't have the means to leave.

Donald Gros, Bayou Corne resident, said, "I wonder a lot if they are going to come knocking on my door and tell me I got to leave. "

People living in the area say there are still a lot of unanswered questions and they are not sure what to expect now that the drill is inching closer and closer to the top of the brine cavern.

Gros said," I believe that they are hiding a lot of the information. They are giving us some stuff don't get me wrong, but I believe that they are hiding a lot of important information that they don't want people to know about."

Assumption Parish officials say they will continue to monitor the situation and will continue to keep residents informed with their blog. They say there is no time frame for how long it will take for answers to come once test begin inside the brine cavern.

Parish officials say there has also been an increase in the number of bubble sites on the bayou. Right officials estimate there are over 20 sites.

Anyone with questions is asked to call the Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness at 985-369-7386 or visit their command post at Bayou Corne.

According to the state Office of Conservation Thursday will mark the 33rd day since drilling operations began, and the 39th since the permit was issued. Barring any unexpected downhole conditions, tomorrow's cavern entry would be ahead of schedule for the 40-day drill that was originally estimated in mid-August - an estimate that did not include having to shut down operations for four days due to Hurricane Isaac.
 

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