Rifle homeowner has that sinking feeling | PostIndependent.com

Rifle homeowner has that sinking feeling

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado – City utility workers have spent the past two days repairing leaky water mains in the Rifle Village South subdivision, near where a sinkhole is growing larger and coming closer to the home of Janet Ketelsleger.

Ketelsleger, who lives at 15 Shotgun St., believes the leaky water lines may have something to do with the formation of the sinkhole. But Rifle Utility Director Dick Duesson says they are not related.

He said the leaky lines are located in an alluvial fan, packed with cobbles and rocks deposited by the meandering Colorado River over the centuries.

“If there was a leak, it would have been dispersed everywhere,” he told the Post Independent. “We don’t think that there’s any way the sinkholes were caused by the water line leak.”

He said the leaks were reported to the city on Tuesday. Ketelsleger said a city crew was out at the work site until nearly 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.

The work site is at the corner of Village and Colt, uphill from Ketelsleger’s house near the corner of Shotgun and Colt.

Ketelsleger said the sinkhole has slowly been expanding toward her house since last summer.

She told the Garfield Board of County Commissioners in October that this and other sinkholes have appeared in the area over the years, since she bought her house in 2003.

“It’s only gotten hideous since this summer,” she told the Post Independent.

She estimated that the sinkhole, which has been expanding all summer, is now less than 30 feet from the foundation of her home.

She said it appears the leaky water lines would drain into a ditch that leads down to the sinkhole.

“If that water main’s been leaking, if the water has been seeping underground, that’s where it’s going to go,” she said.

Duesson disagreed, but said he did not yet know how long the pipes had been leaking. He said they were installed by a private municipal water district decades ago, and the pipes were glued together.

“I think that’s what’s happening,” he said. “The glue finally gave out.”


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