Vent Wells Burning Gas From Sinkhole

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Officials say they've begun burning methane trapped in a water aquifer around a giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Burning the gas could help stabilize the salt dome, which released natural gas and crude oil as it collapsed near Bayou Corne.

Three vent wells already are burning off gas, The Advocate reports ( ). Texas Brine Co. plans to start flaring Monday at a fourth existing well converted to gas removal, company and parish officials say.

Texas Brine got the first well to start burning gas Nov. 2.

Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, hired by the state, has since started burning gas at two wells, including one Thursday, parish officials say.

The sinkhole, now 8 acres at the surface, is in a swampy area leased by Texas Brine from Occidental Chemical Corp.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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