Assumption Parish sinkhole costs DNR $2.2 million so far
A massive sinkhole that has swallowed more than 5 acres of land in Assumption Parish and contaminated an aquifer has cost the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources an estimated $2.2 million for response efforts—and there's no estimate of when the emergency response needs will end. The department reports much of its spending on the sinkhole, about $1.6 million, has been paid to Baton Rouge-based Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure Inc., for area testing and for overseeing drilling operations to remove gas from the aquifer. The Shaw contract, which Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration handled through an emergency procurement process and not through a regular competitive bid structure, started at less than $50,000 in September but has been amended twice and could grow even larger. A department spokesman says the state will seek reimbursement for the spending from Texas Brine Co., which it blames for causing the sinkhole. But there are no assurances the company will cover the costs. "Texas Brine has received no accounting of those costs, but when we do, we will address that issue in an appropriate manner," says Sonny Cranch, a company spokesman. Get more details in the full story here.
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