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30-foot-wide sinkhole appears in Leesburg

People in Leesburg are being asked to avoid the southern section of Jared Square in the Exeter community of Leesburg after a sinkhole was discovered.

The hole was found around lunchtime Tuesday.

According to a Facebook post from Loudoun County Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg), the sinkhole has lowered the asphalt by around 15 inches and has been estimated by the town of Leesburg to be about 30 feet across.

“The present concern is the security of sewer and water pipelines to Jared Square. The town will be monitoring this. Should sewer lines be damaged, affected homeowners may need to evacuate, but that decision has not yet been made,”Umstattd posted Tuesday night.

“The advice from the county is that, if Jared Square residents need to evacuate, they should try to make plans to stay with family or friends. However, if that is impossible, the county normally turns to the American Red Cross to assist neighbors in finding temporary lodgings,” Umstattd added.

Vehicle access in and out of Jared Square is currently prohibited and residents have been advised by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to move their cars off Jared Square.

Betsy Arnett, public information officer for the town of Leesburg, said a geotechnical analysis was being carried out Wednesday, the first step in repairing the sinkhole.

“We won't know exactly what we are dealing with until that analysis is completed. Therefore, we don't have a timeline for the repair yet,” Arnett said.

The sinkhole is located on private property owned by the Exeter homeowners association. The town will be managing the repair of the sinkhole, and the Exeter association will reimburse the town for any work that is contracted out, Arnett said.

Earlier this year, the county discovered two 70-80-foot sinkholes under North Street’s Pennington Parking Lot being constructed in downtown Leesburg. On Sept. 5, the Board of Supervisors signed off on $3.5 million to fix the problem despite little assurances from engineers that the sinkholes would go away for good and not affect neighboring properties. The project is now scheduled for completion in November 2018.

Arnett said it is doubtful the latest sinkhole is related to the sinkhole at the Pennington site, given the distance.

“Most of northeast Leesburg is susceptible to karst formation and sinkholes ... this sinkhole is likely related to the sinkhole in Exeter two years ago,” Arnett added.


“Arnett said it is doubtful the latest sinkhole is related to the sinkhole at the Pennington site, given the distance.”

Is anyone measuring the underground water tables?  One sinkhole can be random, but 2 in the same general area is cause for concern.

I’m wondering is all this development in Loudoun is drawing down the water table and creating an environment that will make sinkholes more common?

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