BLACK HAWK, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been almost a year since a large mine collapsed in a Black Hawk neighborhood. Several homes have been evacuated, but many other residents are worried their homes are next.
A little over 80 years ago, crews operated an old gypsum mine in this area. Now, it’s a neighborhood with more than a hundred homes.
Because gypsum is soluble, things like rain and snow can easily affect it.
“All that area that is now Hideaway Hills, still has gypsum in there and holes and voids that are all filled with water. So the whole neighborhood is basically collapsing,” Kathleen Barrow, attorney, said.
Kathleen Barrow, an attorney representing some of the neighbors in the area, says it’s only a matter of time before more of the land collapses.
Barrow says the state is responsible. She also says pictures from the 1960s show that the state of South Dakota operated a second mine beneath portions of the Black Hawk area.
“We want the state to pay everyone in Hideaway Hills the fair market value of their home and to properly reclaim that land for whatever us the engineers fit to be appropriate for,” Barrow said.
Nick Anderson, a geophysical consultant, says research shows that the mine is bigger than what he first thought.
“We found other entrances to other mines and historic pictures are showing us that there’s been a lot of strip mining activity on the surface that affects the entire neighborhood, not just this site,” Anderson said.
While a big focus is on the mine collapse you see behind me here, what’s not as easy to notice is that these neighbors’ yards are actually shifting.
“The streets are failing, there’s sinkholes forming, we’ve identified cavities under the surface. Worse case scenario a collapse like this, a home falls in but you can also get a gas explosion from a catastrophic event,” Anderson said.
“We want those people moved out of their homes and we want them able to buy homes that they don’t have to worry about falling on top of them,” Barrow said.
We reached out to attorneys hired by the state who say they will not comment on the pending litigation.