Sinkholes

More sinkhole damage reported for Boiling Springs home

2013-02-13T13:45:00Z 2013-07-16T13:50:16Z More sinkhole damage reported for Boiling Springs homeTravis Kellar, The Sentinel The Sentinel
February 13, 2013 1:45 pm  • 

While sinkholes continued to cause damage to a home in Boiling Springs Wednesday, the water main break issue that initiated the problem has been dealt with, officials said.

South Middleton Township Municipal Authority manager Bob Kissinger explained that breaks similar to the one on Tuesday happen on occasion.

“There’s really no reason to think at this point that there’s any other situation brewing at this point,” he said.

Other than digging up the water main and examining it, Kissinger said crews do not typically search for leaks. Unaccounted-for water, or the difference between the water amount supplied to a village’s network and the metered quantity of water used by residents, is monitored. Should the percentage of unaccounted-for water become high, Kissinger said a program would be instituted to search for it.

“If we do start seeing something, then I will (institute a search program),” Kissinger said.

South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley said additional damage was reported to the Boiling Springs house at 201 Walnut St., that had been temporarily condemned on Tuesday.

“There was some additional settling,” Faley said, which caused more damage to the home and was noticed Wednesday morning.

Faley said the size of the sinkholes may have grown, but only slightly.

He also said the insurance company’s structural engineer declined to enter the home Wednesday on the first visit due to safety issues. The company will instead be bringing out a geotechnical representative to examine the ground around the home before the structural engineer enters the building.

“The condemnation is still in effect,” Faley said.

Faley said the water main was fixed at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. At that time, crews took five samples of water and another five on Wednesday and sent them to a private, certified lab. Faley said the results should be in by sometime this morning, and will determine how much longer the boil advisory will remain in effect.

Should tests from both days come out negative for bacteria, the ban could be lifted as early as today, Faley said. If Tuesday’s tests indicate bacteria, but Wednesday’s come back negative, then only one additional day of testing would be needed. Faley explained that an additional two days of testing would be required if Tuesday’s tests do not indicate bacteria but Wednesday’s do, as two consecutive days of negative bacteria results are required.

Once the advisory is lifted, Faley said residents would be notified by the same telephonic system that notified residents of the boiling advisory when it initially went into effect.


Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley said additional damage was reported to the house at 201 Walnut St. in Boiling Springs effected by sinkholes that formed Tuesday.

“There was some additional settling,” Faley said, which caused more damage to the home and was noticed Wednesday morning.

Faley said the size of the sink holes may have grown, but only slightly.

He also said the insurance company's structural engineer declined to enter the home Wednesday on the first visit. The company will instead be bringing out a geotechnical representative to examine the ground around the home before the structural engineer enters the building.

“The condemnation is still in effect,” Faley said.

Posted Tuesday on Cumberlink:

It was in the early morning hours Tuesday when Craig Morris got a call from his mother- and father-in-law, Esther and Jack Helsel.

The couple had heard a loud explosion outside their house at 201 Walnut St., in Boiling Springs. Following their dog to the basement door, they opened it only to find water pouring into the house.

"They called 911, and by the time fire trucks got here, the basement was completely full of water and was rushing out the side of the house," Morris said.

A water main break under the road outside of their house put about 10 feet of water in the couple’s basement — an amount that could have kept rising had the water not been rushing out of the house.

“They’re at our house now because they’re handicapped,” said Morris, who also lives in Boiling Springs. “They’re shook up. They’re really upset.”

Yellow caution tape prevented onlookers Tuesday from getting too close to the house, which South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley said was condemned. An official report will be made today when a structural engineer goes to the house.

The ground at the house was sunken in around the sidewalk that led to the front door. While in the house gathering possessions, Morris said he could hear popping noises and windows shaking and see cracks in the foundation at the rear of the house. He also said sinkholes were beginning to show around the house.

“They’re saying at this point, it’s not safe to go back in,” he said. “We got some stuff out, but then they wouldn’t let us get anything else out of there.”

Water main break

The Helsels’ house was not the only building affected by Tuesday’s water main break.

South Middleton Township issued a boil water advisory for the immediate Boiling Springs area, which Faley expected will be in effect for the next three days, per Department of Environmental Protection regulations on water testing. Should the water clear five tests per day for two consecutive days, the advisory will be lifted.

The advisory came after the 3 a.m. break in a 10-inch water main that resulted in 3 million gallons of water being released. It initially caused all of Boiling Springs to be without water, but that was eventually contained to a two-block radius before complete restoration of water services.

South Middleton Township Municipal Authority manager Bob Kissinger said the break was repaired by Tuesday afternoon. He said the break originated in front of the Heisels’ house and was due to the age of the cast iron pipe. As opposed to ductile iron pipe, which was installed during the repairs, he said cast iron is more rigid and tends to break when there is a vibration in the pipe line.

“It tends to be, in my opinion, more brittle,” he said.

Despite the unstable soil conditions, he said repairs went smoothly. Whether the water main break caused a sinkhole, or vice versa, was something he said would never be known.

Effect

Though the water main is fixed and the water is back online, if cloudy, there are some lasting effects for the village of Boiling Springs.

Mike Ludt is the service committee chairperson for the St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, at 111 Walnut St., across the street from Helsel’s house. He investigated the church Tuesday morning and said about 3 feet of water accumulated in the church’s elevator shaft. He said fire crews pumped the water from the shaft.

Though there did not appear to be any water damage, the break and the questionable water forced the church to cancel its Shrove Tuesday service last night as well as this morning’s Ash Wednesday service. Congregation members can attend Mt. Zion Lutheran Church’s evening Ash Wednesday service today in Churchtown.

Other residents were awakened Tuesday morning from the emergency lights from fire crews that responded.

One resident was Joann Keck, who lives on 2nd Street, who woke up and saw water flowing down the street toward Children’s Lake. She said sinkholes are common in the area, something that Morris agreed with and said residents in the area know and understand their presence.

Fire crews went out Tuesday morning after the break to mark the streets and yards where there were sinkholes, depressions and potential sinkholes. One sinkhole ended up opening underneath a fire official’s truck, forcing crews to lay down 2x4s and pull it away from the sinkhole.

As workers continued to dig and pump water on Tuesday afternoon, Ludt and Morris were pleased with the response.

“I think it was pretty quick,” Ludt said. “I think they’re jumping on it real quick and getting things done.”

Morris said officials from the township and emergency crews were very caring with his in-laws.


Posted at 9:30 a.m. on Cumberlink:

Fire and police crews are battling sinkholes as they try to determine the cause of the water main break in Boiling Springs that let loose 3 million gallons of water early this morning.

Fire crews on the scene reported sinkholes in the area of Boiling Springs that had been flooded with water today.

One sinkhole opened up underneath a truck, which had to be pulled away from the area.

Parts of Walnut Street are closed, and the immediate area of Boiling Springs is under a boil water advisory. Water pressure has been restored to most residents, but the advisory is still in effect in case bacteria got into the water line during the break.

South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley said crews were digging into the area, but as of 9:30 a.m. had not gotten to the break in the water main. The entire village of Boiling Springs was without water when the break occurred at about 3 a.m., but now the outage is confined to a two block radius of the break, Faley said.

Check back to Cumberlink as more information becomes available.


Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

The South Middleton Township Municipal Authority is asking residents in the immediate Boiling Springs area to boil their water after a major water main break early this morning.

Authority Operations Manager Bob Kissinger said there was a break in a 10-inch water main on Walnut Street at about 3 a.m. today, causing millions of gallons to flood the immediate area and fill up a basement of a house on the corner of Walnut and Second streets.

"It's making Walnut Street sink," Kissinger said.

The authority has been able to restore water to residents, but about 40 people are still out of water. For those who do have water, Kissinger said they should boil their water since there is a chance bacteria could have made its way into the line.

Kissinger said contractors, PennDOT, police and fire police were on the scene as of 8 a.m. They have yet to find the break and the cause is still unknown.

Kissinger said someone in the area heard a loud pop at the time, which was most likely the water main breaking.

Check back to Cumberlink as more information becomes available.


Posted at 8:07 a.m. on Cumberlink:

Millions of gallons of water was released, damaging at least one house and affecting many other residents of Boiling Springs early this morning.

The South Middleton Municipal Authority office said they've isolated the incident, but a lot of water was released in the process. Authority Operations Manager Bob Kissinger has been dealing with the break since 3 a.m. today.

Check back to Cumberlink as more information becomes available.

Copyright 2014 The Sentinel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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