MOUNT OLIVER (KDKA) – Walls were cracked and foundations compromised. For a week-and-a-half now, people in Mount Oliver have worried about what will become of their homes after they were damaged by mine subsidence.
But now, work is set to begin to fix them.
A total of 20 homes were affected by the mine subsidence. The DEP said they were able to speed up the process to get contractors in, possibly as early as Thursday, to begin to shore up the homes.
The homes are still outfitted in Fourth of July decorations as they sit empty ever since they began to sink into shallow empty mines along Frederick Street.
“We’re sensitive to the fact that these people are very concerned about their homes,” John Poister with the DEP said.
Poister said a company has been awarded the $1.35 million contract and they’ll start by drilling 57 holes in the area to essentially fill the mines underneath.
“It’s a concrete mixture and it hardens. That will stabilize the ground. And then what we’re hoping, is that it will be stabilized enough that the homeowners can then repair their homes,” Poister said.
The money came from a coal tax and the federal government expedited the application process so contractors could start work as soon as possible. The DEP said the problem is actually worse than they once thought.
While five homes were initially evacuated and remain empty, around 20 altogether were affected by the land shift.
Poister said many did not have mine subsidence insurance.
“We would like to emphasize if we can, that anybody who feels that they might have a shot at living over an abandoned mine should investigate getting mine subsidence insurance. It’s very inexpensive,” Poister said.
There is no exact timetable at this point as to when the work will be complete, but the DEP is estimating it could be a few weeks.