ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officials will continue to monitor as fear of imminent collapse appears to diminish.
Work at the brine well where a collapse had been feared near the intersection of U.S. 285 and 62/180 may be suspended soon, based on the latest results of sonar testing, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.
After two similar brine wells collapsed and created giant sinkholes in Eddy County, the Carlsbad well came under investigation by the state, the Current-Argus said.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on testing and monitoring the site, which, if it were to collapse, could take out the major highway intersection along with an irrigation canal and nearby homes and businesses, the paper reported.
The Brine Well Working Group on Monday decided to drill approximately 20 feet more, then stop and run a final sonar test, Ned Elkins, a member of the working group’s technical subcommittee, told the Current-Argus.
Then, Elkins said, the group will take a long look at all the data gathered in recent weeks and months, the Current-Argus said.
“The good news is that, had there been a 900,000-barrel void, a huge cavern, that would have led us to fear an imminent collapse,” Elkins told the paper.
Because the new area does not carry the threat of collapse, the group will not have to rush a decision on what to do next, the Current-Argus said.
Meanwhile, the well will continue to be monitored for any movement of the ground, the paper reported.