Pennsylvania Massive sewer line collapse : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Massive sewer line collapses in Wyoming

By Fred Ney Citizens' Voice Staff Writer

A 5-foot diameter sewer line break in Wyoming Borough Monday morning caused a massive cave-in that swallowed half of Susquehanna Avenue at Ninth Street, a section of the nearby river bank as well as a 1984 Oldsmobile sedan.

Larry Selenski, Wyoming Borough's street commissioner, was en route to another section of town about 8 a.m. to supervise catch basin maintenance and had just passed over Susquehanna Avenue at the site of the cave-in when the hole opened up.

"Thirty seconds earlier and I would have been swallowed up," he noted with relief.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

Selenski said crews from the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority were on the scene quickly to assess the situation.

A short time later, crews and heavy equipment from Linde Construction Company were summoned to the scene by WVSA to begin repair work.

The hole measured more than 30 feet deep and about 30 feet in diameter.

The vehicle consumed by the cave-in is owned by Ted Polk of Susquehanna Avenue.

Selenski said the cave-in also affected two utility poles.

"The earth beneath the poles fell into the hole, and the poles were dangling, causing the wires to be stretched. However, the wires did not break, and no one lost utility service," Selenski reported.

The street commissioner said Linde employees told him they would remain at the scene until the sewer pipe was repaired and the hole was back-filled and compacted.

Work continued into the night with crews working under lights.

Traffic on Susquehanna River and Ninth Street was detoured around the construction work.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 15, 2000


Mr. Thompson, do these collected incidents of gas and water/sewer breaks follow the path of the mid-west earth quake (tectonic shift) line ? I've been looking at the sites of these and the ones on the east coast. Very few people know of the underwater volcano and plate structure off the coast of the Carolinas, but I lived in the Charleston area for quite a while and witnessed first hand the piping in of hot water directly from the aquifer in the barrier islands. Those experiences led to a superficial interest in earthquake phenomena. If these incidents are the result of geological processes, it's a matter for even more concern than Y2K related problems. I would think programming or chip issues would be more easily dealt with than tetonic plate shifts. your oopinion appreciated. mike

-- mike in houston (, February 15, 2000.

btw, Wyoming PA is in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania

Following upon Mike in Houston's comment, the Boston TV stations have been raising concern whether an increase in the number of local earthquakes could be an early warning signal for a larger one, long overdue by earthquake cycle calendars.

-- Jan Nickerson (, February 16, 2000.

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