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What to do about a sinkhole

snowballsnowball Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
edited March 2013 in Parent Cafe
We have had a what appeared to be a sinkhole along side our backyard, in an area we don't use. I am guessing the ground started to sink a about 3 years ago, but could have been longer. I recently noticed the indention had grown larger and then this week, it actually caved in a bit. After a brief search on the internet, I checked inside the hole and we are pretty sure it is not due to a hole the home builders dug to bury trash and debris. It also doesn't seemed to have any water in it, so it doesn't seem to be due to a water main leak.

As the hole is getting larger and spreading closer to the house than I would like, I need to get this looked into. It seems that landscape companies can take care of this, and it looks like it can get rather expensive. Anyone have any experience with fixing sinkholes? My husband is guessing this could cost $10,000, although that is truly a guess.
Post edited by snowball on

Replies to: What to do about a sinkhole

  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 32,822 Senior Member
    This could be serious. I've never dealt with this stuff, but my gut feeling is that you need to consult land engineers specializing in dealing with this kind of stuff to evaluate the extent of the problem. Dumping some fill dirt into a true sinkhole will not work.

    Will it be covered by your homeowners' insurance?
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    could it be where an oil tank was removed?
    I agree with getting a professional eval- they can be very serious if is an actual sinkhole.
  • snowballsnowball Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
    I have a few companies to call first thing Monday morning. In my area these sinkholes are usually made by the builders to bury construction debris (development sinkhole) and land clearing debris (lot clearing sinkhole); very common with homes built around the time our neighborhood was developed. I am guessing our sinkhole is a land clearing sinkhole, at least that is my hope. I have looked into the hole and do not see anything other than dirt and some tree roots, and what does look like a tree log.

    I am guessing this will not be covered by our homeowners insurance, but I will definitely be checking into it once we see what is involved.
  • msmayormsmayor Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    My brother had a sinkhole develop next to his house. It took a little doing, but his homeowner's did cover the repair and restoration as it clearly threatened the house.

    The company that did the restoration had to run a test to help determine its depth and the proper size boulder needed to 'plug' it. They literally emptied a tanker truck of water into the hole to see how long it took to swirl down. It was freaking amazing how quick it drained...literally just a few minutes...like swirling down a bath drain. Almost scary to think how deep it was.
  • Onetogo2Onetogo2 Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member
    I've just dealt with a sink hole opening up in our back yard. It happened very suddenly- i woke up one morning and it was there, no warning, deep and rather scary.There had been a great deal of rain in the weeks before it collapsed.
    In our state, homeowners insurance does Not cover sinkhole repair. I called an engineer who advertised sinkhole repair on his website and he put me in touch with an excavation company who came and dug out the hole as much as they could and then filled it with "shot rock" - which I believe is randomly sized rocks, mostly large ones and then smaller ones to fill in the spaces. I spoke with many people about what to do including the US geological survey - all were pretty consistent in their advice.
    The total cost was a little over $1000.
    Like you, I was pretty worried about it effecting the house, but somewhat reassured by the engineer that even if the hole spread vastly and threatened the house, they can brace the house with some sort of metal stilts sunk into the bedrock, and a while that would be expensive (he thought in the $10,000 range) certainly it wouldn't mean abandoning the house.
    Good luck, I was pretty upset at first but am feeling much more philosophical about it all now that the hole is filled!
  • northeastmomnortheastmom Registered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    Many, many years ago my parents had this happen. It was a problem with their septic tank. I don't know exactly what happened, but I know that it needed to be repaired and it was a rather big job!
  • snowballsnowball Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
    I can only wish it will only cost $1000! I am prepared for the expense to be very high; if it isn't, I will be pleasantly surprised.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,472 Senior Member
    Have you learned anything yet about your sinkhole?
  • snowballsnowball Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
    I spoke with one company that is coming out to look next Monday. As I can see some side walls on two side, it sounds like it is just a lot clearing sink hole. That said, this company had one in our neighborhood that could have cost over $30K :( I am not going to worry about this any more until they come next week.
  • TreetopleafTreetopleaf Registered User Posts: 2,721 Senior Member
    Do you live in a municipality? I'd contact them for advice.
  • snowballsnowball Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
    Well, we did nothing with the sinkhole as it could cost up the $20K to take care of it. Seems we have more than a small sinkhole; the companies I had come felt it went almost all the way across the length of our lot. Unfortunately it is not at the edge of our lot, it runs through the middle of the back yard. Over time the indention has grown, buckling our fence. In the last 2 week due to heavy rain, we have a second hole inside the backyard (the first was right outside the fence,) along with more indentation.

    It is now time to take care of it as we would like to try to sell our home within the year; can't imagine anyone wants a house with a massive sinkhole in the backyard! While the companies I had contacted in the past were landscape companies who would sub out the work, this time I am going to see if I might find a company that does excavation to give me estimates in hopes that it might be a more manageable price.

    I can't believe I posted this almost 2 years ago; it made me realize how large this sinkhole has become.
  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 Registered User Posts: 14,811 Senior Member
    I'm totally ignorant of this subject other than seeing video of entire homes being swallowed by a sinkhole. I would NEVER buy a home which had any hint at all of being at risk of this situation. You are smart to address this fully right now or you will never sell your house.

    I'm really interested to hear how this all goes-the diagnostics, the plan for treatment, the actual process, the outcome, etc. Will you post on the progress of this situation?
  • aquamarineseaaquamarinesea Registered User Posts: 832 Member
    snowball --

    Why didn't you do anything back in May 2011? Now it's probably going to cost you way more than $20K to remedy this problem!

    I've never heard of sinkholes in yards in our area. If you don't mind me asking, what part of the country do you live in?
  • kiddiekiddie Registered User Posts: 2,684 Senior Member
    Thought of this thread when I saw this news story:

    Crews to raze Fla. home over sinkhole; man missing - Yahoo! News
  • aquamarineseaaquamarinesea Registered User Posts: 832 Member

    I thought of that freakish news story also. For those of you who haven't heard about this on the news, a man in Florida was in his bedroom when the ground opened up and took him and everything else in his room. He is presumed dead.
    "I ran toward my brother's bedroom because I heard my brother scream," Jeremy Bush, Jeff Bush's brother."
    "Everything was gone. My brother's bed, my brother's dresser, my brother's TV. My brother was gone."
    Jeremy Bush frantically tried to rescue his brother by standing in the hole and shoveling away rubble until police arrived and pulled him out, saying the floor was still collapsing.
    "I couldn't get him out. I tried so hard. I tried everything I could," he said, weeping. "I could swear I heard him calling out."

    What a nightmarish scene.
This discussion has been closed.