New information released on Hideaway Hills study
BLACK HAWK, S.D. — Information regarding Phase Two of Montana Tech’s study on the Hideaway Hills neighborhood was released just before noon September 17.
The study also found out that the affected area has increased to include a portion extending near the eastern part of Interstate 90.
In this new region cavities filled with fluid were found, which are subject to becoming unstable with changes in seasons. This was most applicable to the West Elmwood area, Attorney for the Hideaway Hills residents John Fitzgerald stated.
“The part of West Elmwood that isn’t around that fracture area, the mine goes deeper there and it’s filled with water. But it’s susceptible to seasonal changes,” he explained. “So if it were to get very dry, that could also affect the structure of the underlying gypsum under there.”
And with the degradation of the mine, the situation itself is just as unstable and could threaten even more lives.
“Line Y3 was so fractured that we couldn’t pull data from it,” Fitzgerald described. “There’s also photographs of the ground splitting from underneath. So that changes things. That’s in the backyards of people’s residences.”
About 30 more homes are in the affected region, with most being in the Glacier Court and previously mentioned West Elmwood areas.
“We had believed these houses, now on top of the mine…were not affected by the underground mine works,” he began. “And now that we realize they are, that’s about to total up quite a bit.”
According to Fitzgerald, the totals exceed $39 million.
Officials with the Montana Tech study are warning to carry out structural surveys before starting any underground activity.