Flooded Defunct Mines in Bulgaria's Pernik Spell Landslide
The old mining galleries in the southwestern city of Pernik have been flooded, which may result in a landslide.
Although the problem has been on the table for years, the situation underground remains largely unknown, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT).
Residents of Pernik, whose homes are located near the site, are unaware about the extent of the risks to which they are exposed.
The defunct mines have now turned into a museum.
The problem there deepened with the liquidation of the state-owned company Pernik Mines, as hundreds of pumps that had been draining water from the galleries were stopped.
As a result, the mines have been plagued by flooding for years, which is detrimental for the underground facilities.
"After 2008, some steps were taken to partially fill up separate galleries where the problem with landslides and slumps was most serious. However, the overall situation remains unclear," Pernik Mayor Rositsa Yanakieva said in an interview for BNT.
To avoid the worst-case scenario, which envisages massive landslides in different parts of the city, the underground galleries need to be fortified.
The fortification procedures are expected to be quite costly and funding will most likely be sought under EU programs.
Some homes in the area already have cracked walls, with owners protesting that there is no insurance that covers landslide.
The mines are state property, not municipal property, which is why the Pernik Municipality advises locals to refer their claims to the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.