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Leaking water pipe, sinkhole leaves neighbors concerned, frustrated

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 05, 2023

CLEVELAND — It started as a trickle, but an ongoing leaking water pipe underneath the road appears to have caused a small sinkhole in the neighboring tree lawn along West 39th Street south of Denison. Neighbors living near the water leak and sinkhole fear that someone may get hurt before repairs are made.

Minute after minute, hour after hour, and day after day, the leak underneath the red-bricked road has created a steady stream of water that runs like a babbling brook as it nears Denison. The ongoing leak was especially problematic when a large winter storm slammed Cleveland right before Christmas.

“It was an icy mess. My husband helped the people where the pond is down there get unstuck at 4 o’clock in the morning,” said Jackie Brooks. “He went about his day and helped again when the same people got stuck.”

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Brooks said the water leak was first noticed by neighbors a couple of days before Christmas. John Schied, who lives near the end of the street, directly in front of the leaking pipe, said he was taking his trash cans to the tree lawn when the soft, soupy ground beneath him suddenly gave way.

“I stepped on it with one leg. I went straight in [the ground] and I didn’t touch anything. There was no ground underneath me,” Schied said. “I was in a pit of water and I just put my arms out and come back out of it. I stepped on it and I went straight in.”

When asked how far down he went, Schied said he didn’t know; his feet hadn’t touched the bottom yet.

Schied said he and other neighbors have called and notified Cleveland Water of the sinkhole, which is roughly 7 feet away from the ongoing water leak. Repair crews were dispatched to the area and later used traffic cones and caution tape to cordon off the sinkhole and water leak. A wood shipping pallet covers the sinkhole.

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“The only thing holding that pallet up is my water meter,” Schied said. “There really shouldn’t be anybody driving over this, especially the garbage trucks and the school buses. They should not be driving over a sinkhole.”

A spokesperson for Cleveland Water said the agency is aware of both the sinkhole and water leak. The spokesperson said the leak is coming from a pipe that connects the city’s water main and a nearby home.

Although a repair order has been issued, it is unclear when the fixes will be made.

“If the water keeps moving and keeps going elsewhere, it’s creating more sinkholes,” Schied said. “It’s dangerous.”