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Sinkhole Season Starting in Forks

Public Works Director Mark Roberts says sinkhole season takes place in Forks Township when ground begins to thaw.

For Mark Roberts, spring means something else: sinkhole season.

The public works director for Forks Township knows that when winter ends and spring begins, his work isn't over once the snowstorms end.

"We're going into sinkhole season," Roberts said recently.

He said once the ground thaws and there's drainage, the area is more prone to sinkholes. And then when the rains come, the earth opens up, said Roberts, who had reported that the township was experiencing one sinkhole at the time of his interview with Patch.com a few weeks ago.

A couple years back in 2011, sinkholes were popping up everywhere. When Hurricane Irene hit, Roberts reported 19 sinkholes throughout the township, including one at Community Park and another that wiped out Big Woody's for a few months. Residents also battled with township officials regarding a sinkhole at Penn's Ridge.

In fact, Roberts said, Forks witnessed 43 sinkholes in 2011.

"Two years ago, we got a lot of rain," he said.

Last year, sinkholes weren't a major problem, Roberts said. He had expected that would be the case with such a dry winter. One hole opened up in front of Shawnee Elementary School.

Sinkholes have been in the news of late.

One in Florida swallowed a home and took a life at the end of February.

So Roberts isn't someone who is thrilled with April showers. He does hope they will bring May flowers and not more sinkholes for Forks Township.

WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. March 26, 2013 at 11:59 AM
In this day and age of advanced hi-tech, I am amazed why we don't have a sinkhole detection device...There's a doohicky used by scientists to find hollow/solid areas in our bodies to detect cavities/tumors...Maybe we could use one of those....I am sure these smart folks have other, more sophisticated machines to do this...Let's put them to good use...We are exploring Mars surface for crying out loud.

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