Abandoned cesspool opens up in Phoenixville backyard

PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. (WPVI) -- Alika Viscuso looked outside of her home in Phoenixville and noticed a depression in her backyard Sunday morning.

Moments after her husband poked at it with a shovel that depression caved in.

"It's about 10 feet deep, which is terrifying because I have a four and a two-year-old," said Viscuso. "We are out here all the time, especially now that the weather is nice, and my husband is mowing the lawn."

It turns out it is an old, abandoned cesspool that was installed long before this part of the Delaware Valley had sewer lines.

Jeremiah Eldridge, from Eldridge Septic, said the problem is that if the sewer lines were put in before the early 1970s there was no requirement at that time to fill all those abandon cesspools.

In other words, this problem is more common than you would think.

"We might get, you know, 12 calls a year," said Eldridge. "Six or eight of them are actually collapsed cesspools and we are just one company, so these things do happen."

Meanwhile, the Viscuso's are now getting estimates from companies that fill abandoned cesspools and hoping that their home insurance will cover the cost.

Alika says she is grateful no one was injured.

"Yesterday, I was just crying at times because I'm thinking what if we were there? What if we were running across? What if my husband was mowing the lawn?" she said. "It's terrifying."
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