SIDOARJO, INDONESIA — Fifteen years after scalding mud and gas first burst from the ground in Sidoarjo, in eastern Java, the flow of foul-smelling mud shows no signs of stopping, according to Channel News Asia.
The mud now covers an area of more than 6.5 square kilometers, or 2.5 square miles, and has forced around 60,000 people to leave the area or adapt to the unpleasant environment, with one study cited by CNA showing that the flow releases 100,000 tonnes of methane every year.
The Guardian reports scientists associated with oil and gas company Lapindo Brantas blame an earthquake in Yogyakarta, 280 kilometers, or 174 miles away, for the flow.
However, at a 2008 conference in Cape Town, of 74 independent petroleum geologists, 42 agreed that drilling had caused the mud flow.
Pipes have since been used to redirect mud flow into a nearby river, according to CNA.
And in 2006 the Sidoarjo Mud Flow Mitigation Center built an embankment around the mud flow site to prevent mud flowing out into surrounding areas.
However, issues are still arising.
"The mud from the burst is about 60,000 to 90,000 cubic meters per day," Pattiasina Jefry Recky, head of the Sidoarjo Mud Flow Mitigation Center told CNA this week.
This is much more than the 30 million per year that can be diverted into the nearby Porong river.
The embankment around the site is also prone to leaking, according to an article in the AIP Conference Proceedings journal, with Pattiasina adding to CNA that it was "built in a rush."