"Sinking" feeling on Quincy's South Side

Sinkhole suddenly appears in farm field off of Nieders Lane

Residents along Nieders Lane in Quincy have been keeping a watchful on a sinkhole that appeared shortly after the recent soybean harvest ended.

It appeared in a farm field that was recently harvested within the past six weeks. Some people in the area are wondering what caused it to occur in the first place.

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J.M. Huber mines beneath the surface of much of the land in the region where the sinkhole developed. Its Quincy-based branch is located on Gardner Expressway.

While company officials have not found a definitive answer to how the hole appeared, it has been in contact with landowner Kenny Phillips.

Robert Currie, vice president of communications and public affairs, said that the company has been in contact with landowner Kenny Phillips about subsidence on the farm land.

â??At this point we're in cooperation with this landowner,â?? Currie said. â??It's an open-ended case. Our people in Quincy would like to know what caused this incident of surface erosion."

â??When they blast, they go to great lengths to make sure that vibrations are within certain allowable parameters,â?? Currie explained.

While there is no definitive answer to what caused the sinkhole, Currie said one theory that's being explored is the summer drought possibly playing some role.

â??We do take this very seriously, and obviously if anyone in the area has concerns or issues, we ask that they bring it to the attention of the local plant,â?? Currie added.

Phillips said he didn't wish to comment on the issue.

Don Gash, lives just down the road from where the sinkhole is located and has owned his house on Nieders Lane for the past 30 years.

He said he and his wife hope another sinkhole doesn't appear.

"My wife and I had been talking about something like this for a long time. And we were just hoping it wasn't on our property. And if the next one comes up, will it be in a house or a subdivision," Gash said.

The hole is located several hundred yards off the roadway near the Nieders Lane and 24th Street intersection. It's roughly 15 to 20 yards in diameter.