Most of us have heard about Florida’s “Sinkhole Alley.” Located in West Central Florida — Pasco, Hernando, and Hillsborough counties have much higher incidences of sinkholes when compared to the rest of the state. With each passing year, the number of sinkhole incidents have increased. According to the Office of Insurance Regulation over two-thirds of the sinkhole claims originate in the Sinkhole Alley. The big question is “why?”
Reeling from the high costs associated with repairing sinkholes and controlling fraud, insurance companies and the state government worked together to reduce the number of sinkhole claims. SB-408 introduced in 2011 was seen as the “cure” for making sinkhole claims go away. Yet, the number of sinkholes in Sinkhole Alley continues to climb.
A simple answer as to why there are so many more sinkholes in Sinkhole Alley is topology. Most of Sinkhole Alley sits atop thousands of underground caves. It is Karst Country at its best. “OK,” some may say. “But why are there so many more sinkhole incidents now? There weren’t that many years ago.”
If Sinkhole Alley had remained mostly rural as it was 30 or more years ago, sinkholes would have appeared occasionally. The biggest reason for the explosive rise of sinkhole incidents is the increased population and human activity. As more and more people flock to West Central Florida, the more sinkholes and particularly, catastrophic collapse sinkholes, will be in the news.