Large sinkhole causes concern in Wahiawa

A sinkhole opened up on a property on Dole Road in Wahiawa Thursday afternoon.

Police were called, and they covered it up and blocked it off.

The resident says this is not the first time this has happened on the property.

Amateur video showed the hole before it was covered.

The curious gathered around it but with the ground saturated by a recent downpour, no one wanted to stand on the edge for too long.

Sasha Terry came home after a doctor’s appointment, and found the scene in her front yard.

At first, it was just a couple of feet deep.

“It was no more than two feet – two feet deep,” said Terry. “and then it dropped to 30 feet, more than 30 feet.”

She went on to say that, “it’s an old cesspool. They (the landowners) tried to pack it down before when it opened up but when the heavy rain comes down and softens up all the dirt it will make it sink even more. But this time the water got super, super down there.”

Holes have opened up before in other areas around the island.

One incident took place in Enchanted Lake 9 years ago, the result of a leaky pipe or an old septic tank.

And in 2007, a water main break opened a sinkhole, also in Enchanted Lake.

In order to stabilize the hole, the ground has to dry up, but weather forecasts call for more rain in Wahiawa, and it will be heavy at times.

“More rain, more water,” said a worried Terry. “It’s going to soften the dirt around it and get bigger.”

But not according a retired geologist with 38 years of experience with the Board of Water Supply.

Chester Lao says most cesspools were dug 30 feet deep.

“It won’t get any deeper,” said Lao. “If anything, it will get shallower because of all the stuff that went into the cesspool is piled up on the bottom,” he said.

KHON2 asked Lao if other homeowners who live near abandoned cesspools will run into a problem like this as well.

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” said Lao. “Especially for older homes built in the 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s even.”

He added, “So, we can expect more of these, not just in Wahiawa, but in various other places.”

When the ground finally does get dry, Terry says the landowners will probably do what they did the last time, and that is pour concrete, asphalt and dirt into the hole, and seal it up tight with a concrete cover

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