Ocean Springs sinkholes slowly disappearing in the city

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - More than 100 sinkholes are slowly disappearing in Ocean Springs. In January, WLOX News showed you the Public Works catalog of sinkholes that have caused problems all over town for years.

"We are standing where the sinkhole use to be, and it is quite big," Sheila Peterson said.

Now Sheila Peterson's front yard on Halstead Road is now sinkhole free after eight years of complaining to Ocean Springs' Public Works.

"It feels pretty firm, and I am sure all the piping and everything is really good down there."

Public Works Assistant Director Johnny Groue said crews have fixed about 20 of the 100 plus sinkholes around town. He knows that number sounds low, but there's a reason.

"Anytime that you dig underground you have other utilities in the way. It is a slow process; it is nothing fast. You have water lines, sewer lines, gas lines," Groue said.

Public Works officials said another problem is every time they fix a sinkhole, seems like another pops up around town, and that is delaying progress.

"This is a perfect example, just down the road, we have done some repairs on the same pipe run, but as the rain, the water goes through joints and it starts sucking your sand and dirt from the bottom," Groue said as he look at one of the many sinkholes in the city.

Groue and I even spotted a new sinkhole while strolling on Government Street.

"This is the first time I have seen this just walking down the sidewalk, and it never ends."

Public Works hopes at least fill more than half of the sinkholes by end of the year. Until then, more orange fencing will go up around the holes and people will have to watch where they step.

Ocean Springs has spent at least $1 million on sinkhole and drainage repairs. Groue said city leaders are hoping to get millions more in grant money to help keep the work going.

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