Mystery Solved: Containers Were Septic Tanks
The five containers buried under the Dormont Pool parking lot used to be septic tanks, and all are being repaired.
The mystery of the five containers buried under the Dormont Pool parking lot has been solved.
The containers were once septic tanks, although borough manager Jeff Naftal said they don’t appear to have been in use for more than 75 years.
“We know what they are,” Naftal said. “We’re certain they were septic tanks, but we don’t know what they served.”
The Allegheny County Public Works Department sent the borough plans that cleared up the issue, Naftal said.
The plans, dated 1937, were for work being done on Banksville Road, but clearly showed three septic tanks at what is now the pool parking lot. The plans also included instructions for a contractor to remove the lids of those tanks and fill them.
“Of course, not only did we find five tanks instead of three, but clearly none of them were ever filled,” Naftal said. “So 75 years later, here we are.”
Naftal said it’s still unclear what the tanks might have served. It said they could have been for farms that used to be located in the area, or for a small railroad station that once was near the site.
The first container collapsed unexpectedly Feb. 27, taking a large portion of the Dormont Pool parking lot with it. Four more containers were found during excavation revealing pipes leading from one container to the next. Niando Construction collapsed and filled four of the containers to prevent future problems.
The fifth container was partially buried under Dormont Avenue. Because it would have been too expensive to close and repair the road, Naftal said, the roof of that container was not removed, but half of the container was opened and the entire container was filled with cement and stabilized.
The total cost of the repair work will not be known until the end of the week, but Naftal said that since the containers proved to be related to sewage management, the repair costs will be taken from the sewage budget.
Repair work should be complete by the end of the week, he said.