Updated: City Expects 22 Residents Displaced by Haverhill Sinkhole to Return Home Wednesday

A crew works within a protective trench shield behind 5 Ford St., Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph.)

Update: At the last minute, plans to allow residents to return to their homes was delayed by a day.

The 22 Haverhill residents displaced from their apartments last week because of a growing sinkhole are now expected to return to their homes Wednesday.

Shawn Regan, spokesman for Mayor James J. Fiorentini, said crews worked around the clock this weekend to complete a sewer bypass.

“We’re making expeditious repairs. We’re almost done. The sinkhole is stabilized and almost finished…The bypass had to go all the way down the hill.” he said. Regan added permanent sewer line repairs will take four to six weeks to complete. Workers lowered a protective trench shield into the hole to allow repairs and backfill soil to avoid further erosion. Fiorentini told WHAV last week, there is at least $1 million in damage

Residents of 5 Ford St. were placed at a Haverhill hotel and their meals covered at the city’s expense as continuing rain caused more erosion around the giant hole. Costs are being borne from the city’s Community Development and wastewater departments.

“The mayor’s office is coordinating all of the relief,” said Regan

As WHAV reported early last week, Public Works Director Robert E. Ward said a deluge of rainwater “blew out” a 200- to 300-foot stretch of old brick sewer running from Washington Street to River Street, bringing sewage onto River Street.

Meanwhile, the city has received 32 residential claims over water damage, but only three from businesses ahead of Thursday’s filing deadline. The mayor’s office has said a lack of substantial claims may discourage the awarding of disaster aid by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency or Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The city has posted a form for requesting assistance here.

The Haverhill City Council is also expected to call an emergency meeting Tuesday. Fiorentini said a formal state of emergency isn’t required to obtain aid, but it does allow the city’s wastewater department to incur deficit spending if necessary.

Comments are closed.