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Did You Know? Your House was Built Over Gypsum Mines!

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Presentation on theme: "Did You Know? Your House was Built Over Gypsum Mines!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Did You Know? Your House was Built Over Gypsum Mines!
From your neighbors of the Protect Amherst Life Association 1055 Youngs Rd. Injection Well Site Join Us, April 8th Amherst Town Hall 7PM

2 And now the Town of Amherst Planning Board has just approved the installation of a Water Injection Well! This Combination is Extremely Dangerous!! Sinkholes Are Created when Abandoned Mines are Dissolved by Water! These Are Huge Mines They WILL COLLAPSE! Help Us Stop Them NOW!! Gypsum Mine

3 Supplemental AMHERST OKS REZONING FOR DEVELOPMENT VOTE SIGNALS GO-AHEAD FOR CONSTRUCTION OF HOMES OVER GYPSUM MINES The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY) August 17, 1993 | DICK DAWSON - News Amherst Bureau | CopyrightCOPYRIGHT 2007 The Buffalo News. Provided by ProQuest LLC. The first phase of a 288-acre residential and commercial project in an area laced with abandoned gypsum mines was narrowly approved Monday night by the Amherst Town Board. The board's 4-3 vote rezoned 38 acres of the site between Maple, Ayer, Klein and Transit roads for construction of about 100 homes, nearly all of them in the town's exclusive "R-2" zoning class. The vote signals the go-ahead on a hotly debated project first presented to the town five years ago. Jeffery D. Palumbo, an attorney for the developers, said preliminary subdivision plans will be presented to the Amherst Planning Board as soon as possible. "It's about time," prominent Amherst developer Anthony Cimato said loudly from the audience as the board's climactic vote was announced Monday night. …

4 Supplemental Gypsum Mining
Underground gypsum mining in Amherst occurred beneath a one mile-square area near the southeastern boundary of the Town, approximately between Klein, Maple, Ayer and Transit roads. As development of that area progressed, the Town acquired additional information that further defined the mining area. The refined information was based upon borings into bedrock and electrical resistivity analysis. The vast majority of the mined-out area is now known to be located east of Covent Garden Lane, south of Renaissance Drive, north of Maple Road, and west of Transit Road. The mining operation commenced in 1925 and ended in The impure gypsum was removed (mined) from a layer approximately 70 feet below ground level. The bedrock is overlain by 10 to 40 feet of unconsolidated glacial deposits. The layer of gypsum varied in thickness but was typically 36 to 42 inches in height. The room and pillar method used in mining leaves intact pillars of bedrock within excavated “rooms” of gypsum and rock. According to various reports, the size of the pillars ranged from 10’ by 10’ to 24’ by 24’. Measurements of the pillar spacing have been described as 33 feet from center to center with a roof span of approximately 24 feet. The haulage ways were excavated to a height of 6 feet with a width of 18 feet. Main haulage ways may have had some spans of 40 feet and a height of 8 feet. With the cessation of mining in 1976, the dewatering operation (pumping) discontinued and the water table returned to its natural level. While in operation the pumping rate was estimated to be 500 to 1,000 gallons per minute (gpm, or 1.44 million gallons per day) during the summer and up to 5,000 gpm during the spring. Details of the mining operation can be found in various reports contained in the Town’s rezoning files associated with the DRT, Tesmer, and Cimato parcels. The master file for these reports is obtainable from the Planning Department. It is the policy of the Town Building Department to assume that all properties in the Maple-Ayer-Klein-Transit roads area are located above a mine unless determined otherwise through appropriate engineering or scientific analysis.


6 Water Deteriorates Load Bearing Columns

7 Another thing to consider when you look in the area: In Clarence [not far from e. Amherst] where they had the National Gypsum wallboard plant (on Roll Rd) there are tons of new houses. All around the area is where they mined the Gypsum... the mines are under Clarence and the surrounding area. Those mines fill with water; my husband's sister knew someone w/a brand new home which was over a mine (1980s) and the woman got the water bursting through her new cellar floor (she was told the water was from an underground artesian formation which filled the mines); her father worked in the plant years back and they knew it then (1950s/60s)... mistake! I don't know if there is even a map for that stuff. Read more:

8 I don't know about sinking homes in Clarence but I do know that at least 150 homes have been built over the abandoned gypsum mines. New York State has suffered some earthquakes in the past and always wondered if the gypsum mines would collapse under a major tremor. In addition, I wonder if all the people that bought homes knew they were built over the abandoned mines? EARTHQUAKE: 292.0, Moderately High Hazard Potential Impact: Large Region Cascade Effects: Highly Likely Frequency: Rare Event Onset: No Warning Hazard Duration: More Than One Week Recovery Time: More Than Two Weeks Impact: · Serious injury or death to extremely large numbers. · Severe damage to private property. · Severe structural damage to public facilities. The Group cited data that indicates an earthquake of a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter Scale is possible in the region, a potentially devastating earthquake.



11 December 24, 2006 The Earth Opened, and the Backyard Fell In By C. J. HUGHES BEFORE Roger DeGroat Sr. ducked inside his home in Ringwood for a wrench to fix his weed trimmer one July night last year, his backyard had a lawn. When he came out, it contained a crater the size of a swimming pool. “I was stunned,” he said. “I had just walked over that spot to mow it.” William Baker knows that feeling. In October 2005, Mr. Baker glanced up from his morning coffee to find that overnight, a 25-foot-deep gash had opened up behind his house in Cheshire, Conn., just steps from the foundation. “I could have driven a truck into it,” he said. “And I just paid $400,000 for the home six weeks before.” If it is shocking to see such gaping holes appear out of nowhere, it may be even more surprising for many residents to learn their source: abandoned mines. The mines collapse at a rate of about two or three a year per state in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, geologists say, although major collapses occur only once a decade. Still, neither New York, New Jersey nor Connecticut — despite occasional requests from scientists and politicians — has dedicated an agency or financing program to fill the mines in or to clean them up. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the New York region produced metals like copper, silver, iron and gold from mines in the ground. (Above-ground mines, the most common in the region today, also produced bluestone, feldspar, brownstone, beryl and pegmatite.) Mr. DeGroat’s home is near a warren of former iron mines, which dot the Hudson Highlands along the New Jersey-New York border. Mr. Baker’s property, meanwhile, is on top of an old mine for barite, which was once used as a paint thickener. Even if the mines have been lost to history, the dangers they pose are real, say geologists and mine safety experts. Once all the valuable ore was extracted, they say, miners usually walked away, not properly filling or sealing the shafts. As a result, there is a high risk of collapse, especially because the century-old wood timbers propping up their roofs will eventually rot, the experts say. To make matters worse, they say, few maps survive, so few homebuyers, developers or zoning boards know the mines’ precise locations. And because side tunnels can radiate from the central shaft like branches from a tree, they can affect houses hundreds of yards from the entrance. “People are building homes these days in what they think are pristine wooded areas, not realizing that 100 years ago these were industrial areas,” said William Kelly, the geologist for the State of New York. “There might be a vague recollection about the mines among some locals, but for the most part, they’re forgotten.” Before federal money ran out two years ago, Mr. Kelly was compiling an inventory of all the New York mines, but he never finished. He identified 270 mines, and though most are far from the metropolitan area, he says, they still can be causes for concern. In western New York, between Rochester and Buffalo, former rock salt and gypsum mines carved out of soft rock have the potential to cave in. Already, cave-ins have delayed home construction in Amherst and Oakfield, Mr. Kelly said. Closer to New York City, in Kingston, caverns that measure 2,000 feet from entrance to back wall are left over from limestone excavation in the early 1800s. Though mushroom farmers later took over some of the caverns, developers built homes over others, adding considerable weight to their soft-rock roofs, Mr. Kelly said. Vibrations from cars on roads can also weaken the rock, he said. Collapses are not the only threats that mines present. Arsenic, for example, has also been detected in tailings, or residue, from an iron mine next to Mr. DeGroat’s property in northern New Jersey. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is cleaning up the site, although as part of a separate project, removing paint sludge from a former Ford plant. For its part, New Jersey is making good progress in pinpointing mines, said Karl Muessig, the state’s geologist. Using a global positioning system, Mr. Muessig said, his office has verified the whereabouts of about 440 of the 588 mines mapped out piecemeal over the years, including some long covered over by shopping centers. The idea is to tackle the most densely settled areas first because of the amount of housing developed there, he said. Compared with its neighbors, Connecticut remains a mining hotbed, sixth in the nation in terms of annual rock and mineral output, according to the United States Geological Survey, mostly because of the basalt it generates from above-ground mines. The state also once dug for copper, cobalt, beryl and lead, however, leaving about 600 mine sites, said Margaret Thomas, a geologist with the Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey, a division of the State Department of Environmental Protection. The number is based on research completed in Since then, though, development has surged, especially in rural areas, so the research needs to be updated, state geologists say. And the dangers of old mines were never really assessed, they say. “The potential hazards of them have been by and large ignored,” said Gary Robbins, a geology professor at the University of Connecticut, who investigated Mr. Baker’s sinkhole at the governor’s request. “We need to ask, to what extent are these mines contributing contamination?” Of the few he has studied, Mr. Robbins said he had discovered dissolved arsenic in water dripping from abandoned gold mine tunnels in the Cobalt section of East Hampton. Mine shafts can also funnel radon gas, which at certain concentrations, and with long-term exposure, can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, from the ground into homes. A Connecticut study conducted in the late 1990s at the Old New-Gate Prison in East Granby — a former copper mine, where years later ingenious Yankees locked up British soldiers during the Revolutionary War — found elevated traces of radon in the tunnels. Another risk of abandoned mines, Mr. Robbins said, comes from hazardous materials like gasoline that were dumped in the shafts over the years. “You have this big hole in the ground,” he said, “and it probably seemed like a good place to throw junk.” In the meantime, Mr. DeGroat waits for the $130,000 that the Borough of Ringwood has estimated it will cost to fill the hole in his yard, as well as a second, smaller one, which appeared in late November. Some preliminary work was performed in mid-December. In Connecticut, Mr. Baker, who paid $13,500 from his own pocket in March to fill the hole in his yard with large stones, weighs his legal options. They include, he says, suing the town or the home’s former owners. If they knew that mines were on his land, he says, they could be liable. “There has to be resolution, one way or the other,” Mr. Baker said. “I wouldn’t have bought anywhere near here if I knew.”

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