Sinkholes swallowing Ocean Springs - - The News for South Mississippi

Sinkholes swallowing Ocean Springs


By Patrice Clark – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - More than 100 sinkholes are swallowing parts of Ocean Springs. Fixing them won't be easy or cheap. The sinkholes invading Wally Peterson's front yard has him frustrated.

According to Peterson, an area in his front yard is sinking and has become dangerous.

"If you happen to be a homeowner and somebody is walking down here and trip and fall it is your responsibility," explains Peterson. 

The concerned homeowner says the problem on Halsted Road has been going on for eight years and the patches by Ocean Springs Public Works Department are temporary and short lived fixes.

The huge sinkhole in front of Peterson's home is just a couple of miles away from another large hole at Gay Lemon Park.

Assistant Public Works Director, Johnny Groue, has a book cataloging sinkholes around the city. He blames them on old weak pipes around the town, and says the problem began with poor installation more than 20 years ago.

"Every ward in the city has sinkholes issues," says Groue. "This can block up your drainage and that can lead to flooding in different areas."

Public works crew members say sinkholes are a safety issue, they are hoping to get the work done as soon as possible.  It will cost about $5 million to do the work, so the city plans to borrow the money and is also calling on the state for help.

According to Public Works Director, Andre' Kaufman, the city spent about $900,000 last year fixing sinkholes and drainage

"While we may catch the criticism for not fixing it (the sink holes), it all goes back to money. If we don't have the money, we just don't have the money. I would say this; the Mayor and board have been proactive in providing funding," says Kaufman. "I think they are doing what they can do with the money at hand. Our main goal is to get funding from the state if we show a legitimate need for safety reason."

Public Works administrators say crews have filled a lot of the holes with sand and blocked off the areas with orange netting. The department is now working with city leaders to get at least $300,000 this year to start the repair work

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