MILLFIELD — A large sinkhole at the site of the former Millfield mine is being filled as a safety precaution.
Residents of Chauncey and Millfield saw dozens of concrete trucks travel through their towns Friday and Wednesday to reach the mine location on Millfield Road. The site is the former Sunday Creek Coal Co. underground mine where in 1930 an explosion resulted in the deaths of 82 people, making it Ohio’s worst mining disaster. The mine has been closed for decades.
The sinkhole was caused by the collapse of the old mine shaft, and the hole is being partially filled with concrete.
The project to fill the sinkhole was undertaken by the Abandoned Mine Land Program of the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management. The division contracted with Enviro Construction Co. of Alexandria, Ohio, to do the work. The contract amount is $125,310, with the money coming from federal funds.
“It’s a historic site. We had to work through the state historic preservation office,” said Roger Heskett, an division employee at the site Wednesday.
The site is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there are remnants of mine buildings near the sinkhole. An Ohio Historical Marker was placed along the road near the property in 1980. The mine site is private property, not open to the public.
“Although this is private property, many people still visit this site. The large sinkhole is very deep and has unstable sides. As a result, there is a possibility that someone could be injured, so the project is to eliminate the hazard,” said Bethany McCorkle, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
She said the sinkhole was first reported Feb. 14, 2012.
On Friday, 200 cubic yards of concrete were pumped into the old mine shaft to fill voids that remained under the sinkhole and to give support to the 300 cubic yards of concrete pumped into the bottom of the sinkhole as a cap Wednesday. The remaining hole will backfilled with red dog (mine waste) placed over the cap.
The mine shaft is 187 feet below the surface.
Also on Friday, 70 cubic yards of concrete were pumped into a nearby air shaft in an effort to prevent it from collapsing too.
The project is to be completed by April 30.