The Hole Truth about Sinkholes

Sinkholes are a common problem in Lancaster County where we have limestone soil. Heavy rains and storm water run-off aggravate sinkhole problems by flushing surrounding soil down the hole. Sometimes a sinkhole may be caused by a leaking water or sewer pipe and may continue to enlarge until the utility line is repaired.

What should you do if a sinkhole develops on or near your property?

A. Sinkholes in the street or right-of-way are the responsibility of the Municipality and should be brought to our attention as soon as possible. Warwick Township crews will often excavate the sinkhole to find the source and attempt to cap the source with poured concrete.  Contact Jason Minnich, Road Superintendent, at (717) 626-8900 or email to report sinkoles in the street or right-of-way.

B. Sinkholes on private property are the property owners responsibility. Warwick Township will provide technical assistance if requested at no cost to the property owner. Water run-off from rain spouts or other sources may need to be redirected in order to stop feeding a sinkhole.

C. Sinkholes in storm water drainage easements may be the property owners responsibility, depending on the Storm Water Management Agreement for the property or development. A Storm Water Management Agreement imposed certain requirements upon the Developer and all successor lot owners. Paragraph 2 of the Storm Water Management Agreement specifically requires that the Developer and all successive property owners maintain all of the storm water management facilities in a first class condition and as shown on the approved plans. Paragraph 3 of the Storm Water Management Agreement states that failure to so maintain storm water management facilities constitutes a nuisance which the Township may abate at the cost of the lot owner. Paragraph 6 of the Storm Water Management Agreement specifically gives the Township the right to enter on all lots within the development, repair storm water management facilities, and recover the cost from the lot owner. For this reason it is extremely important that prior to landscaping, planting trees, installing sheds or fences you are certain that no storm drainage easements exist on your property which require you to maintain them exactly as they were constructed.

Click here for more comprehensive information about sinkholes on the PA Department of Environmental Protection webpage