DEP awards $2.4 million contract to stabilize ground in Philipsburg-Osceola area

lfalce@centredaily.comMarch 7, 2014 

About 60 homes in Decatur Township, Clearfield County, will be shored up by a $2.4 million project funded by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“This critically important project will eliminate the threat of mine subsidence for 60 homes in the township at no cost to the property owners,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “It’s an outstanding example of how the department is directly assisting citizens impacted by legacy mining problems.”

The Stumptown area, a neighborhood just on the Decatur Township side of Osceola Mills, was the subject of drilling in 2005 to explore how stable the ground was after a heritage of mining in the area. It was determined the area “posed a high subsidence potential due to the depth of overburden at drill hole locations.”

Since that time, DEP said at least three subsidence events have occurred in areas that were part of Mapleton Mining operations up until the 1930s.

DEP will combat the problem by pumping 15,000 to 22,000 cubic feet of a grout mixture into the undermined areas to stabilize the ground. About 10,000 linear feet of drilling will be conducted. The goal is to relieve the overburden on the undermined areas. While overburden normally might be about 25 feet, in Stumptown, the drilling has shown it to be as deep as 50 feet in spots.

“Maybe the best news for the residents is that there is absolutely no cost to the property owners,” said DEP spokesman Dan Spadoni.

The project is paid for by a competitive grant awarded by the federal Office of Surface Mining. Funds come from fees levied against mining operations today.

Howard Concrete Pumping Co. Inc., of Cuddy, Allegheny County, will perform the work, which is expected to start before the end of March and be completed in 10 months or early 2015.

Contact Lori Falce at 231-3910 or follow her on Twitter @LoriFalce.

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