Work continues on huge Ephrata sinkhole

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EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) – A water main break spilled 300,000 gallons of water before a large sinkhole opened on a street and forced 19 people out of two apartment buildings, borough officials said Thursday.

Authorities still aren’t sure whether the water main break caused the sinkhole that opened early Tuesday and grew to about 30 feet wide and more than 20 feet deep. It’s possible the break was caused by the sinkhole at West Pine Street and Park Avenue. Repair crews also found a broken storm sewer pipe in the hole.

(Credit: Ephrata Police Department)
(Credit: Ephrata Police Department)

“We don’t know whether the water main caused the dirt to go or whether it was the lack of support causing the water main to fail,” borough manager Bob Thompson said. “It really is unknown at this point.”

Crews plan to begin filling the hole when repairs to the storm sewer pipe are complete. They’re still worried about the ground under one of the apartment buildings, so it’s unknown when those residents will be allowed to go home.

Residents of four apartments in the second building could be allowed to return today.

Borough officials estimate that work to fill the hole will be a “six-figure” job. They said the money will come from reserve funds.

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