Commerce City Engineer Jack Dalrymple said he first noticed the new 20 to 30 feet in diameter subsidence sinkhole Monday morning and notified ODEQ.

COMMERCE- On Wednesday Ottawa County Commissioners approved closure of Commerce Main Street and Newman/East 60 Road, from East 60 to State Highway 69 due to a subsidence issues.

Commerce City Engineer Jack Dalrymple said he first noticed the new 20 to 30 feet in diameter subsidence sinkhole Monday morning and notified ODEQ. He also observed cracking in the roadway causing the closure to be approved by Ottawa County Commissioners for safety measures.

Dalrymple immediately notified the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency.

“The EPA said we can leave it open if we want to, but if somebody falls in the liability will fall on us,” Dalrymple said. "We circled it with yellow warning tape."

The subsidence hole appeared in an area that was once undermined.

“The mine shafts below there were big enough to drive vehicles through,” Dalrymple said

Dalrymple believes the recent construction of Commerce's passive treatment plant may have contributed to the cause of the problem.

“I think what the county and the city may do some borings to check the stability,” Dalrymple said.

Word came later in the day on who has the responsibility of oversight of the subsidence issue.

“EPA just called me and told me that it is an ODEQ issue until I see mine water above the rim of the subsidence,” Dalrymlpe said. “Since it is below the rim it is an ODEQ problem, and I will be receiving a call from ODEQ regarding their actions. The road is closed to traffic now and will remain that way while I continue to monitor the asphalt separation through the road cracking.”

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at mstotts@miaminewsrecord.com. or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1