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Concrete boxes under Dormont parking lot that caused cave-in determined to be abandoned septic structures

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Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Dormont has gotten to the bottom of why five concrete boxes — each the size of a mobile home — were buried under the parking lot of the recreation center and pool.

The boxes — the roof collapse of one caused the parking lot to cave in last month — were septic structures from the early 20th century, borough Manager Jeff Naftal said.

“We have 1937 (Allegheny) County construction plans, which indicate these are abandoned septic structures that were supposed to be filled in 1937, but it never happened,” he said.

The recreation center was built in late 1929, but its pool dates to 1920.

The concrete boxes — each 17 feet wide, 53 feet long and 12 feet deep — were buried side by side, 7 feet beneath the parking lot near Dormont Avenue, Naftal said.

Recreation center workers noticed a large hole in the parking lot on Feb. 27, he said.

The borough hired Niando Construction Inc. of Penn Hills to excavate the site. The company discovered four more boxes, only one of them intact, Naftal said.

Niando collapsed the tops of the underground boxes and filled them with dirt, concrete and rock.

A temporary cold patch will be applied over the excavated area. Naftal said the work is expected to be done Friday.

The site would be paved permanently when the weather is warmer, Naftal said.

The price tag has not been determined, but Naftal said it is expected to be more than the $10,000 council approved on March 4.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or

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