As growth of the newest section of the Daisetta sinkhole appears to be slowing down, with no major changes in recent days, the response from city and county officials has now switched from emergency response to monitoring and measuring.
“The chemicals we were concerned about have been removed from around the sinkhole and have been placed in frack tanks. All of the chemicals appear to be playing nice with each other in the frack tanks, and from an environmental standpoint, everything has been taken care of,” said Bill Hergemueller, director of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management.
The city of Daisetta and Liberty County had considerable help in removing the chemicals from the site. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) removed non-hazardous waste and the Environmental Protection Agency removed the hazardous chemicals. While the frack tanks storing some of these chemicals are still on site – located next to FM 770 – they are far enough away to not pose an environmental risk should more sloughing off occur around the sinkhole.
“They are still putting stuff in the frack tanks, but the tanks will probably be leaving the site by the end of the week,” said Hergemueller, adding that, with the chemicals removed, the sinkhole site is safer than it has been in years.
Sections of the sinkhole that were already sloughing off have continued their decline into the hole, but as of now there are no indications that the sinkhole is growing bigger.
“The already affected parts of the sinkhole have sunk into the hole more. That’s about it,” Hergemueller said.
On Saturday, Daisetta Mayor Eric Thaxton and Hergemueller’s assistant, Nat Holcomb, met with geologists Richard Howe and Gary Kowalczyk to discuss the best path moving forward. Howe and Kowalczyk installed magnetic spikes into the ground around the sinkhole, which will be used for mapping GPS coordinates.
“They are going to come back and shoot the site every weekend for a while. If they see no changes, they will go to shooting the site once a month, then once every three months if there is no movement,” Hergemueller said.
If movement is detected in the area around the sinkhole, they will continue monitoring the site more frequently.
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