Allegheny County

Marshall-Shadeland family fighting for answers, accountability for massive sinkhole

PITTSBURGH — A local family said the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is to blame for a giant sinkhole outside of their home. It formed after PWSA was doing work across the street.

The family told Channel 11 they have to pay to fix the sinkhole and the water line.

Don Schrecengost is fed up and frustrated after what’s happened outside his Superior Avenue home. In November 2022, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority started to fix a main sewer line on the other side of his street. That’s when he says his problems began.

“It collapsed the sidewalk, the curb and the street when they were digging it,” said Schrecengost.

Crews filled the hole and repaved the street, but the heavy machinery that was brought in caused other issues, he said.

“They had a big excavator here that could reach down 30 foot and every time that thing would move up and down the street my house would shake,” Schrecengost said. “My neighbors house would shake, my daughter’s house next door would shake.”

Schrecengost said he then noticed a sinkhole forming on his side of the street. After PWSA evaluated the hole and the water line, the agency said it was his responsibility to fix it.

“They said that we ran a camera up. We had someone in your house flush dye down. We poured dye down in the hole here and it came out into our main sewer. They tracked it to our lateral and they said our lateral is collapsed,” he said.

Schrecengost said he believes the damage was done by PWSA.

“I just want somebody to accept responsibility for their construction, their work and their problem,” he said.

Channel 11 reached out to PWSA about the issue.

“Repairing a sewer lateral is a costly endeavor and we empathize with anyone having to make such a repair,” they said. “Our investigation of the collapse does not point to our work being the cause.”

Schrecengost said he’s already paid $38,000 of his own money. He told Channel 11 it could cost $100,000 to fix the sewer line. PWSA said it’s in the process of developing a sewer lateral repair program to help residents.

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