N.J. homes at risk of falling in river after landslide
Florence Township, N.J. — A landslide and recent rain have opened up a massive hole in the backyards of two homes, leaving them on the brink of tumbling into the Delaware River.
Erosion has been a problem for several years for some homes in Florence, but the rain has created a growing pit and sent a large tree 70 feet below into the river.
Chris and Lynne O’Dell told The Times of Trenton that they fear they might have to pack up and move within a few days.
“Every time it rains, I cringe,” Lynne O’Dell said.
Chris O’Dell bought the home in 2004, and the couple suspect an old sewer system that runs from the street and into the river between their house and their neighbor’s house is to blame.
Engineers on Wednesday were evaluating the effects of the landslide.
“The county engineer is working closely with municipal officials to determine the many factors that are contributing to the situation and find the best way to remedy it,” Burlington County spokesman Eric Arpert said. “The safety of the homeowners is the most important thing.”
The couple said they obtained a 1990 study from a neighbor that Burlington County commissioned about erosion in the area.
Chris O’Dell said the old sewer system gathered water and dumped it into the river, but it was capped in the late 1980s. He said it appeared the system was sealed with brick and mortar and over the years the system eroded.
“This has really escalated over the past two years,” Chris O’Dell said.
They filed a claim against Burlington County, but a company working for the county denied the claim April 13.
Arpert said the system was sealed and officials are sorting out a multitude of contributing factors.