Message from Texas Brine:
As a result of the recent, heavy rainfall, the abandoned section of the original south berm was overtopped today. The new south berm was not breached or overtopped at any point. Even with heavy rains, approximately 3-4’ of freeboard on the new south berm remains and the waters of the sinkhole are contained as they have been since the initial completion of the containment system.
Because of the expected gradual expansion of the sinkhole the decision was made over five months ago to expand the containment system to the south and abandon the section referred to as the “old” south berm. After initial containment of the new south berm was achieved, Texas Brine ceased maintenance operations on the old south berm. On January 17th, 2014, Texas Brine contractors added a final layer of material to the berm and no maintenance activity has been performed since.
Following the completion of the new 3,900 linear foot earthen south berm, plans were being drawn up to initiate a cut-through on the old south berm in order to connect the bodies of water between the old south berm and the new south berm. Not surprisingly, the heavy rains resulted in a natural overtopping, which created a pathway between the two bodies of water inside of the greater containment structure.
Texas Brine continues to monitor surface water and groundwater as we have since August 4th 2012. With over 3,500 samples taken to date there are no indications of adverse water quality impacts to area surface water outside of the sinkhole containment area. Plans were already in place to adjust the water sampling locations, within the containment system given the new south berm, prior to today’s overtopping.