Are more sinkholes possible in Toledo? - WNEM TV 5

Are more sinkholes possible in Toledo?

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

In early July, 60-year-old Pamela Knox's car fell into a large sinkhole at Bancroft and Detroit Avenue. That hole has been covered and repaired, but Toledo's public utilities director says it's part of a much larger issue.

"I don't know that anybody in the City of Toledo had the vision to know that on that given day and that given hour were going to experience that given situation," said Councilmember Mike Collins.

But could it have been avoided?

Director of Public Utilities Dave Welch says it's not that easy.

"You can see underground, so when this stuff starts to erode…you don't see it, until it starts to collapse, or a small hole, or if a large hole develops," he said.

Officials say the system has aged. The system under Detroit and Bancroft dated back to 1891.

"Like anything else, there becomes a life expectancy," Collins said. "Now we're seeing the life expectancy, in some cases, overextended, but now all of a sudden we're seeing the ramifications of it."

Welch says the only way to prevent another sinkhole is to change the entire system, but he says that's not practical. He says the city is assessing the entire system now, and is coming up with a plan of action.

He also says the city needs to put more money into infrastructure needs.

"We're basically just putting bandages on the system right now," he said. "We're not doing major replacement of sewer lines, we're just bandaging it, and that's the problem. We need to get some more funding in here to go ahead and start, you know, replace some of these old lines."

Welch also explained that a sinkhole can occur at any time and any place, but ones as large as the one at Detroit and Bancroft are rare.


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