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Four sinkholes open in Palmyra, residents want answers

Updated: Monday, October 14 2013, 04:48 PM CDT
Written by: Chris Papst

Residents in Palmyra want answers after four sinkholes opened up forcing many from their homes.   Nine families have been evacuated and it could be days before repairs can even begin.

“The borough is not taking any responsibility at all for this.  [And it should],” said Liz and Jonathan Stoltzfus who were evicted from their home. 

For the couple, the last three days have been a challenge.  On Friday, four massive sinkholes opened right in front of their Cherry Street home. 

Now, the couple and their five kids are living in a hotel.  Meanwhile, the front of their house has already dropped three inches and it continues to creep downward.  And they say the borough is at fault.  

“It all started in July when they tore up the curb and left it open for weeks.  So when we had a major storm all the water went in the hole they left open,” said Liz.

“We were told it was not cost affective for them to come out and do the work immediately," Jonathan tells CBS 21 News.

"I don’t know if you can put fault on anyone.  It’s a matter of the geology under our town and there’s really nothing we can do about that,” stated Roger Powl, Palmyra Borough Manager.

Powl said recently Cherry Street was rebuilt using Federal money.   But during construction, heavy rains caused sinkholes to open up.  The borough called in geologists and engineers before moving on.  But ultimately this street has no storm drains and when it rained during construction, the pooling water got into the ground. 

“Unfortunately this town over the years lacks a storm water management system overall.  We are trying to do what we can with limit funds that we have to improve our systems when we can," Powl said.

“Whoever started this project is the one who is responsible for every sinkhole and ultimately what has now happened,” said Liz.  “I’ve lived here for six years and this has never happened.  It can’t be a coincidence.”
   
Before any work can be done on the sinkholes a telephone pole that fell into one has to be removed.  That could take until Wednesday, but the fear is more rain may come and the problem gets a lot worse.
Four sinkholes open in Palmyra, residents want answers


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