In Trzebinia (Małopolskie Voivodeship), water removal with the use of specialized submersible pumps has started. As Marek Wesoły, Deputy Minister of State Assets, who was present at the site, assessed, this should be an effective method of preventing the formation of sinkholes
Two special pumps were installed and launched by Spółka Restrukturyzacji Kopalń in the forest area in Trzebinia. Their task will be to maintain the underground water table at a stable level. One pump runs continuously, the other is a backup.
– Pumps have been started, which have been working since Monday, we are examining the water table and we hope that this procedure, which is to stop this phenomenon, will bring us the expected results – we have great hope for this – the deputy head of the Ministry of State Assets told journalists.
– Today we are convinced that the opinions we have received will solve the problem in Trzebinia and maintaining the water table will prevent this, but neither we nor the experts have the final certainty – he added.
According to him, “with great probability this action will be prevented and such phenomena will no longer occur in Trzebinia.”
During the briefing, the deputy minister emphasized that the activities in Trzebinia are carried out in two ways – on the one hand, they are to stabilize the area and prevent the formation of new sinkholes, and on the other hand, to develop assistance solutions for residents affected or threatened by these phenomena.
Two pumps in Trzebinia
Janusz Smoliło, President of the Company for the Restructuring of Mines, which is responsible for securing the areas of the former Siersza mine in Trzebinia, informed that specialized devices placed in previously cleared holes have a capacity of 5 cubic meters per minute. One pump runs all the time and the other serves as a backup device. Their task is to maintain the water table at the current level so as not to disturb the underground structures. The pumped water goes to the Kozi Bród river. According to the president’s assurances, the purity and chemical composition of the pumped water are monitored.
– We hope that these pumps will stop the process of rising the water table, which will significantly slow down the process of formation of sinkholes. It cannot be ruled out that they will not be created, because they will probably be, but not with such intensity as before – said the president of SRK.
According to him, in addition to drainage activities, treatment and protection works are still being carried out in the area of the estate. Grove. Next week, Smoliło noted, a company will be selected to secure the area at the Trzebinia cemetery.
Governor: The residents are safe
Lesser Poland Voivode Łukasz Kmita reminded that sinkholes in Trzebinia have been formed since 1999, i.e. since the decision to liquidate the mine by flooding it. – Today, the state services, and in particular SRK, must make up for the omissions that arose in the late 1990s, when it was decided to liquidate the mine in such a predatory way. At that time, no one thought how the water table would rise and whether the inhabitants would have to deal with adversities, the voivode assessed.
Kmita assured that, according to experts, the inhabitants of the areas closest to the sinkholes are currently safe. – If we have any information that will affect the safety of residents, we will immediately pass this information to the residents first – he declared.
He also announced that the most endangered areas, where entry was banned by his order, will be opened to residents “immediately after studies show that the areas are already treated and safe.”
During the briefing, the mayor of Trzebinia, Jarosław Okoczuk, emphasized that the most important thing is the safety of residents who are struggling with the problem of wrong decisions made years ago.
– We are witnessing tangible actions which – I hope that according to the presented position of representatives of the world of science – will bring measurable effects, measurable benefits. I am convinced that this will not end the problem of deformations in our city yet, but it will greatly affect and improve the current situation – assessed the mayor.
He expressed regret that “Trzebina has become a place where there are people who want to make political capital.” – We are struggling with problems today and we ask you to respect this and want to help us, help us by uniting and not by dividing – he appealed.
A special team was appointed
During the briefing, Deputy Minister of State Assets, Marek Wesoły, also announced that a special team had been established which, based on the experience and activities in Trzebinia, would develop a strategy for dealing with possible post-mining sinkholes in other places.
– So that we know and have mechanisms that will allow us to implement them immediately, so that we do not wait and do not hesitate. We are preparing a primer for action in such cases, as well as a whole map of those areas that could be affected by these threats, announced Wesoły.
As he added, it is too early to decide what form these actions will take, but it is “probable” that they will be adopted under the Special Act.
The “Siersza” mine ceased operation in 1999-2001, and its liquidators assumed that the voids left after mining would be filled with water. Over time, the water began to come closer and closer to the surface of the earth. The phenomenon of sinkhole formation in Trzebinia intensified in 2021. Earlier, for 20 years after the liquidation of the mine, it occurred sporadically. According to experts, the deformations are caused by water constantly flowing into the post-mining excavations and the type of soil – there are sands, gravels and clays. Shallow mining, carried out here in the 19th century, also contributes to the formation of sinkholes. The sinkholes in the Małopolska commune became famous in September 2022, when the earth absorbed several dozen graves in the parish cemetery.
Main photo source: TVN24