Louisiana's Office of Conservation plans to drill an observational water well to test for concentrations of natural gas in the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer between the western side of a troubled salt dome and the Bayou Corne Community in the southern part of the state.

For weeks a mysterious sinkhole has threatened area residents and energy infrastructure and the salt dome is suspected as the cause (see Daily GPI, Sept. 5).

Scientific staff with the Office of Conservation's Ground Water Resources Program selected the site from a standpoint of public safety because it lies between the salt dome and the community, and is a likely gathering point for any natural gas that might be found in the aquifer.

The Office of Conservation has contracted with Walker-Hill Environmental to do the drilling, and the Office of Conservation will be on hand to observe the drilling and testing of the water, coordinating any sampling and testing activities with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The driller is expected to move equipment on site in the next few days and begin drilling, pending equipment availability. The findings from the drilling and water sampling associated with the observational well will determine the next steps in the process of investigating the condition of the aquifer, the Office of Conservation said.

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