Sinkhole warning signs to look for

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The construction of the Hummelstown Borough Office Building started six weeks ago and workers have already stumbled across seven sinkholes at the site.

Although local construction workers, geologist experts and community members are not surprised about the sinkholes, neighbors living nearby are wondering what warning signs to look for both on and around their property.

“In this area it seems to be quite normal the way the limestone is soft in some spots and the water finds the easiest way to flow,” Doug Daub, the new building’s construction supervisor, said.

According to Bill Kochanov, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Geologic Survey Supervisor, to develop a sinkhole there are three main ingredients: an urban area with shallow construction, an area surrounded by a large amount of limestone, and leftover construction debris.

“(In central Pennsylvania) we’re basically in sinkhole central,” Kochanov said.

“I’ve never been concerned [about getting a sinkhole] but that doesn’t rule out the possibility,” Nick Leitner, a neighbor living near the newly opened sinkholes, said.

So what are sinkhole warning signs you should look for as a homeowner?

Know whether or not you have limestone near your property and where and how old your utilities are.

Having insurance on your home is also key.

Construction for the borough office will continue and Hummelstown officials hope to have it up and running by January 2018.

For more information on the knowledge of sinkholes and what measures you can take to prevent them, visit http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_014591.pdf.

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