Preventing Catastrophic Collapse Sinkholes
One of the ways of preventing sinkholes, is to make sure you don’t pump huge volumes of water out of the ground in a short period of time. An independent geotechnical company recently confirmed that the work crew who was installing a sewer system and pump station near the Holiday Travel Park where several catastrophic collapse sinkholes formed, was likely responsible. The county has hired their own geotechnical company to make sure the findings are correct.
Some of the residents of the mobile home park have been told that it is safe to return. Even though the sinkholes have been stabilized, residents are afraid. One resident stated that his family was concerned for his safety after watching the news on TV; however, he has four months remaining on his lease and plans to return.
The county must do their due diligence to determine if work crews can continue work on the sewer and pump station without causing more sinkholes. Meantime, the residents of Holiday Travel Park must make difficult decisions. They can rely on the information given to them by the county and by geotechnical experts, or they can decide that the risk of returning is too high especially since the ground under their feet remains unstable. Sinkholes may continue to form and there is no telling where and when they will show up.
The bottom line is this – Florida is prone to sinkholes and a good number of catastrophic sinkholes are triggered by human activity and in particular, the pumping of underground water and construction-related activities. When work crews divert surface water they sometimes cause erosion of underground limestone structures. Drilling wells, mining, and simply driving heavy construction vehicles in sinkhole prone areas can cause the ground to collapse.
Water has a stabilizing effect on Florida’s underground limestone caves. Water pressure often keeps the walls of the caves from collapsing. Start pumping water out and the earth layer on top of the roof of an underground cave collapses, slowly, or all at once.
Do you suspect you may have sinkhole damage? Speak to the professionals at Helicon, 844-HELICON (844-435-4266).