John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security, said roughly 5,000 square feet of land sloughed off into the sinkhole Tuesday morning, and that by the afternoon, the land-loss had grown to an estimated 7,500 square feet.
Boudreaux said he hadn’t measured the sinkhole recently, but it possibly could cover as many as 9 acres after the 75-foot-by-100-foot parcel of land crumbled and fell into the slurry hole on Tuesday.
“I think this was expected,” Boudreaux said, “because the scientists have estimated that the hole will grow. It was just reported because it did grow.”
The sinkhole, located between the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities, was discovered south of La. 70 on Aug. 3, causing more than 150 residences in the area to be evacuated due to safety concerns.
Scientists have said the sinkhole formed following the failure of an underground cavern in the Napoleonville Dome owned by Texas Brine Co. LLC. The sinkhole has increased in size gradually during the past six months while also releasing methane, natural gas and crude oil underground.
Sonny Cranch, a spokesman for Houston-based Texas Brine, agreed with Boudreaux’s assessment that Tuesday’s slough was expected, calling it “part of the process of the sinkhole stabilizing.”
The most recent sloughing event, the first to happen in several weeks, officials said, also pulled several trees down into the sinkhole.
The positive news, Boudreaux and Cranch said, is that the growth in the sinkhole continues to be on the southwest portion, which is farthest away from La. 70 and the homes in Bayou Corne.