Reprinted with permission
Pittston gets some answers to sewers and subsidences
Times Leader (timesleader.com)
By Ian Campbell Times Leader Correspondent
Friday, September 1, 2006
A standing-room crowd filled Pittston’s City Council chambers Thursday to hear what will be done
about mine subsidence problems on Mill Street.
In addition to being assured a solution will be found to a cave-in in the 100 block of the street, which has impacted sewer
services, the crowd learned from U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, that there are major subsidence risks that will need
to be dealt with in the city.
“I don’t want to wake up one morning and read someone’s house has disappeared,” he said.
There are three problem areas that have been discovered since the initial Mill Street cave-in, and other parts of the city
have less than 30 feet of cover over mine shafts. There is no certainty regarding the size of the problem areas, Kanjorski
told the gathering.
One thing that had been discovered was how little knowledge there was of the mine networks underneath the city, he said.
Which entity was responsible for which aspect of the work had delayed repairs. However, a series of meetings organized
between the city and various state and local departments resulted in assigning the city the responsibility for sewer work,
and the Office of Surface Mining the responsibility for filling the holes, the congressman announced.
The city will embark on the sewer work as part of an overall sewer rebuilding project that will separate septic service
from storm-water runoff, and end up creating a modern operation that likely will run in conjunction with the proposed Hughestown
Kanjorski and Pittston Mayor Joseph Keating agreed after the meeting that a combined sewer authority involving the two
municipalities was a likely outcome from the project, especially since the upgraded Hughestown system would send a separated
system into the city’s single flow lines.
The new system would cost Pittston residents significantly more than they currently pay, but Kanjorski noted there were funds
available to cover a major part of the cost. The time frame for the project could be as long as a decade, with costs anywhere from
$30 million to $50 million or beyond.
In the same period, the work on filling the known holes and locating any more danger areas would take the Office of Surface Mining
an initial 18 months to two years, Kanjorski said.
Further investigation was needed to discover other areas that posed a real danger to the public, he said, and he promised he
would bring in whatever government services he could to map the underground mine routes.
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