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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.


The local news here in Augusta, Maine alerted me to a "massive" sinkhole on Chestnut Street. I live about halfway down a mountain in Augusta (albeit a small mountain, okay, say half-a-mountain which has an elevation of 352'); and I live just two blocks from a Chestnut Street. News of a sinkhole concerns me. So I set out to find it. Well, that sinkhole is on the OTHER Chestnut Street, across the Kennebec River and high up above the river in an employee parking lot of the Ballard Complex medical center. It is quite a sinkhole, glad it isn't on my side of the river. But this makes me even more unsure about the stability of the steep, dirt hills that have been heavily built up along the Kennebec River for over a hundred years. Uneasy.

A man who was standing at the rim of the sinkhole said that it was linked with red brick; and I too saw a wall of red brick in it. Curious.

Later news reports implied that the sinkhole was caused by rain runoff going down to the Kennebec River which is just a few blocks away, from whence the Kennebec flows mightily toward the Atlantic Ocean. Hard to imagine rain runoff as the culprit of such a large, sudden sinkhole without picturing the entire hospital complex ultimately being sweeping down into the Kennebec and off to the ocean. Horrors.

I wonder how much "rain runoff" is running off under the building that I live in, perched up high and steeply above the Kennebec. Concerning.

(Then, about a week later a second sinkhole opened up just a couple of blocks from the Chestnut Street that is near me, on this side of river! The sinkhole fell through on Western Avenue, located just down the mountain from the Maine State Airport and the historical building that I live in.This is a major thoroughfare SR 202/100, and the government filled in it immediately.) Oops.

Sink Hole at Ballard Complex medical center—I, II, III 08-31-22

by Annmarie Throckmorton



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