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Johnson Peers Into the Sinkhole

Rosalind Helderman

Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) toured a Camp Springs neighborhood, where a 200 yard sinkhole opened behind several 50-year old homes, sucking some back decks off their foundations. No one was hurt by the opening of the hole early Monday morning, but five homes have been declared, at least temporarily, uninhabitable.

Johnson said he had spoken to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) about the problem and both state and county leaders are committed to helping the neighborhood. A consultant's report on the hole concluded it likely opened as a result of soil erosion over decades on the bank of Henson Creek, which runs behind the homes.

Charles Wilson, director of the Department of Environmental Resources, said the consultants recommended further testing to determine whether the homes could be stabilized and what improvements are needed to drainage in the area.

Johnson meanwhile promised the county would investigate claims from the neighbors--that county officials ignored a smaller 1998 hole, that recent construction on the Beltway has led to new drainage issues, that original construction problems may have played a role. "We want to satisfy them that we've looked at it," he said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 16, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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