October 15, 2013

Sewer Sinkhole Causes Portion of Moss Mill Road in Smithville, Galloway Township to be Closed While Repairs are Made

A decommissioned gravity fed sewer line has been identified as causing a sinkhole that was discovered around 11:30 pm on Friday, October 11 on Moss Mill Road near the Atlantic County Utilities Authority’s (ACUA) Smithville Pump Station. Galloway Township is one of the 14 Atlantic County municipalities serviced by the ACUA’s regional wastewater collection and treatment system. Sewage generated within the township travels through a series of underground pipes to the ACUA’s Smithville pump station before continuing on to the ACUA’s regional wastewater treatment facility in Atlantic City.

When the sinkhole was discovered late Friday, ACUA crews were dispatched to the scene. Due to the number of sewer lines that converge in this area it was not immediately apparent whether the source of the problem was the responsibility of ACUA or Galloway Township. Together, ACUA and Galloway staff worked diligently to identify the cause and employ the most expedite means to resolve the problem.

Using a video camera to view inside sewer lines, the problem was located within the ACUA’s decommissioned gravity sewer line, located below the Galloway Township force main, at a depth of 20 feet.

“Galloway Township has been terrific throughout the process,” said ACUA President Rick Dovey. “Figuring out the problem was half the battle and this wouldn’t have been accomplished as quickly without the complete cooperation of the township. Thanks also go out to Somers Point who expedited the videotaping of the lines,” added Dovey.

Work on the impacted area will resume when sewer flows are at their lowest, during the night and early morning hours (midnight to 6 a.m.). Coordination between Galloway Township and the ACUA has enabled sewer service to continue without any interruption.

As a safety precaution and to facilitate the repair work, Moss Mill Road is closed between Old Port Republic Road and Constitution Drive with eastbound traffic detoured onto Old Port Republic Road to Quail Hill Boulevard and westbound traffic being detoured onto Constitution Drive to Old Port Republic Road. Essential personnel and vehicles, however, are being allowed to pass through.

“The repair work will continue at least through tomorrow,” said Dovey. “Crews will be working to install shoring to protect those making the repair and to keep water from impeding the work. The water table in this area is high due the weekend rain, so keeping the groundwater table below the repair area is important.”

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