The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it has authorized an emergency contract to stop serious mine subsidence in Pleasant Hills, Allegheny County.
Two homes on Brushglen Lane have shown considerable structural damage due to the shift of ground underneath their foundations.
DEP inspectors were first alerted to the problem on March 16. During an on-site survey the following day, they noted significant damage throughout the homes and were able to trace the problems to mine subsidence.
The homes are located over the abandoned Pittsburgh Terminal No. 6 mine, which was abandoned prior to 1936.
Damages to the homes include cracks in the plaster walls in several rooms; stuck doors and windows; floors that are now tilted; and significant cracks in foundations, in some cases up to one inch wide. The subsidence continues to impact the homes.
The emergency authorization allows DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation to immediately gather estimates, choose the most qualified bidder, and contract to begin work to stabilize the site.
Quotes are scheduled to be received by DEP by the morning of March 24, with work scheduled to begin March 29. The project is anticipated to take two to three weeks to complete.
Mine Subsidence Insurance Available
DEP continues to encourage residents of the importance of having mine subsidence insurance.
A typical homeowner’s insurance policy rarely covers mine subsidence damage, leaving the property owner with repair expenses which can often exceed $100,000 per building. Mine subsidence insurance is an affordable option that protects homeowners from the cost of potential damages caused by subsidence.
The insurance, which is administered by DEP, is inexpensive, at about 55 cents for every $1,000 of coverage. An average policy of $175,000 would cost just $95 a year, about $8 a month or .25 cents a day.
But, despite the low cost, only about 62,000 buildings are insured statewide.
As part of an ongoing awareness campaign, DEP mailed details of the insurance program to Pleasant Hills residents a year ago, alerting them to the danger posed by abandoned coal mines underneath their properties.
Much of the area in the southern and eastern Pittsburgh neighborhoods and suburbs are undermined.
An estimated 1,000,000 buildings are constructed over abandoned mines in Pennsylvania. Because subsidence hasn’t occurred in a particular neighborhood in the past doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future.Detailed information about the mine subsidence insurance is available on DEP’s Mine Subsidence Insurance Program webpage or call 1-800-922-1678.