Deep hole at abandoned mine along Old Route 100 in Berks County is repaired

Holly Herman, Reading Eagle, Pa.
·2 min read

Feb. 26—A deep hole that opened up Nov. 15 at a 19th century abandoned iron ore mine along Old Route 100 in Washington Township has been repaired, officials said Friday.

A state Department of Environmental Protection crew with the bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, based in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, has completed the project.

Rick Sichler, township manager, said the crew did a great job.

"They got everything done," he said. "The property owner is happy."

The hole was filled with 5,000 tons of crushed stone and 71 tons of heavier stone.

A 4-foot layer of clay was placed on top of the stone to seal the hole. The area was covered with topsoil and seeded, according to a report from the work crew.

The final cost of the project has not yet been determined.

The hole, initially about 25 feet wide, grew several feet wider due to heavy rain in December on the side closest to Old Route 100.

The hole was about 180 feet deep and was partially filled with water.

The hole was cordoned off with an orange mesh safety fence and emergency caution tape before the repairs were complete.

The hole, which was highly visible to motorists, was snow-covered on Friday and appears as if nothing unusual had happened there.

In the same area in September 2018, an abandoned mine opened up in a wooded area near a housing development. The abandoned mine bureau declared it an emergency. The 2018 hole was filled with 816 tons of rock and covered with topsoil.

David D. Moyer, chairman of the township supervisors, said the crew worked very diligently to fill the hole properly.

"Everyone is happy with how it turned out," he said. "With all of this freezing and thawing going on now we should be OK."

Sichler said in the 1800s that iron mining was a thriving business in Berks, Lehigh, Chester and Lebanon counties.