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Water main leak may be first of many this season - abc27 WHTM

Water main leak may be first of many this season

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

A water main leak is being blamed for a sinkhole that opened up in Harrisburg Saturday morning. Officials say it is probably the first of many more to come this spring.

In Harrisburg on a warm mid-March day, workers spent more than 12 hours filling in a sinkhole. It happened on the 1200 block of Magnolia Street in Harrisburg. That is the same spot where crews are demolishing a church that partially collapsed in February.

"We feel for the residents in this neighborhood. They've been through a lot," said Shannon Williams, Executive Director of Capital Region Water, formerly The Harrisburg Authority (THA).

Williams said the sinkhole had nothing to do with the collapsed church building, but there are many other factors.

One cause of the sinkhole, Williams said, is Harrisburg's aging infrastructure.

"The pipe itself is 100 years old last year—1913 it was installed. It's a cast iron pipe. They don't have a whole lot of flexibility in them," said Williams.

Another problem is the large tractors and other construction equipment sitting on Magnolia Street, added Williams. "We're gonna be keeping an eye on that area because of the heavy equipment. We have that concern about the brittleness of the pipes."

Officials across the Midstate have that same concern. Williams said this time of year is one of the worst for water main breaks and leaks.

"This time of year the pipes, everything that gets cold breaks more easily, and with the changes in temperature and the freeze-thaw cycles of the soils, we encounter this quite a bit," said Williams. "It's not the first but one of many this season."

As for the 1200 block of Magnolia Street, officials said they will fully restore the road once the church is demolished.

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