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Giant Hole Has Dormont Officials Stumped

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There is what was thought to be a sinkhole near the Dormont pool and it is growing larger.

At first, an underground container the size of a mobile home collapsed and swallowed part of the parking lot.

Now, two more concrete boxes have been discovered.

Dormont officials aren't actually calling it a sinkhole though – they're not sure what it is. But they do know they have a problem to be dealt with.

It had the makings of a sinkhole when the earth opened up in the parking lot. But when the digging started, borough officials discovered it was not one, but three underground concrete structures.

"They're 7 feet below the surface, they are 12 feet deep themselves, 17 feet wide and 53 feet long," Dormont Borough Manager Jeff Naftal said. "They're big."

Speculation is the 8-foot –thick concrete structures were part of an underground storm drainage system.

"It appears that they were there for storm drainage purposes probably for the road," Naftal said. "We're not sure of that exactly, because we haven't fully excavated, so we don't know that for sure."

Since no one was around when the structures were built, the borough is hoping to get some idea from the county or PennDOT records. In the meantime, speculation continues.

"We've heard bomb shelters and Christmas tree burning sites and at one point, I had a theory that maybe it was a septic tank, giant septic tank," Naftal said.

A contractor has been hired to dig out the hole, removing large piles of black sludge. It's hoped that this is the extent of the problem.

"It's good that we didn't have a full parking lot when it happened," Naftal said. "It's good that we know now, we're going to knock in the roof of the structures fill up the holes so that it's solid firm ground and we won't to worry about this in the future."

The borough manager assures this will not be a problem for the swimming pool or other park activities. In fact, they plan to have it filled and covered by the end of the month.

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