Collapsed storm sewer may be cause of sinkhole

EAST LIVERPOOL – A collapsed storm sewer may have been the cause of a sinkhole suddenly appearing Wednesday afternoon at the side of the entrance ramp from Second Street to state Route 30/39, officials said Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon, city officials were waiting for the waste water department’s camera to finish charging so it could be lowered into the storm sewer system to determine if the sinkhole may have been caused by the collapse of a 24-inch storm sewer line that runs from Walnut Street underneath the roadway to the river near the Broadway Wharf, according to Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell.

He said city planning Director Bill Cowan produced drawings made when the highway was re-designed in the 1990s which indicate a storm sewer exists which lines up close to where the sinkhole appeared.

The storm sewer is made of corrugated metal, which Estell said “is as bad a pipe as we could have under there,” since it would catch the salt used on the roads and be eroded by it.

Dye was placed in the storm sewer at Walnut Street and it did come out at the wharf, but Estell said the water coming out at the wharf is coming out underneath the pipe, not through it, indicating a problem.

He said if the storm sewer has collapsed, he expects the repair will be up to the Ohio Department of Transportation, not the city.

“We didn’t put the pipe that far under the ground. It’s probably 40 feet under the road surface,” Estell estimated.

Until the camera could be readied and placed into the sewer system, the exact cause, or an estimated time frame for remedying the problem could not be given. Meanwhile, the entrance ramp from Second Street remains closed and officials have cautioned people to stay away from the sinkhole, which they said is dangerous.