MOUNT OLIVER (KDKA) – Twenty homeowners on Frederick Street in Mount Oliver have sad proof that the hills are honeycombed with old, abandoned mines.
Last month they felt the earth move under their feet.
That sinking feeling was mine subsidence– shifting bricks and cracks shooting through foundations and plaster walls.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection put the project on a fast track, paying $1.35 million dollars to stabilize the properties.
“It’s going a little bit faster than we thought it was,” says John Poister of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
After drilling 52-bore holes 50-60 feet into the ground, crews are now filling all the nooks and crannies underground with grout made of concrete.
“We put it under fairly high pressure and then it hardens, and it hardens very quickly,” Poister says.
The cost of stabilizing the ground is covered by a coal tax but repairing the individual homes comes out of owners’ pockets.
Nicholas Fess was luckier than his neighbors. Although the grout was piped under his home, he has no damage.
After 53 years of living in Mount Oliver, he now has mine subsidence insurance.
“I just got it,” Fess says. “I didn’t have it before, but I have it now.”