possible sinkhole in back yard - what to do?

BUTTON55April 15, 2003

We have been watching a depression in our back yard, about 25 feet from our home, which has recently seemed to be getting deeper. There is not a perceptible widening of the depression, just deepening. Our area is prone to sinkholes, so we are not surprised, but we are wondering what to do. Any suggestions?

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I'm wondering if this could also be causing your water problem...I would go to your city permit department, or phone them, speak to a professional who enforces the building or landscaping areas of properties for the city or county and ask them. Usually they are helpful in either situation (your water or sinkhole).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 10:51AM
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In Florida, there is a form you can fill out and send to Florida Geological Survey. Maybe you should contact your homeowner's insurance company and see what advice they give you.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2003 at 4:39PM
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I would be careful about calling your Homeowners insurance company. There was an article in our Sunday Paper real estate section today about something called 'CLUE'. That stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange'. It is an electronic data base for the insurance industry, and according to the article, even a seemingly innocuous query to your insurance company can result in a no dollar loss noted on your records. Perhaps a tree fell in your yard, you called to find out if you were covered. You were not, so no money was paid out, but it is still noted on your records as a no dollar loss. According to this article (written by Kenneth Harney), houses with a poor CLUE score can be more difficult to sell, or insure. The article recommended ordering your house's CLUE score (much like your FICO score). The link is below.


Here is a link that might be useful: CLUE Report

    Bookmark   April 27, 2003 at 8:24PM
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I also would caution against contacting the insurance company ESPECIALLY with anything that could be labelled a sink hole. We had tremendous problems renewing/ finding insurance after a false diagnosis (by a professional, licenced engineer) who claimed that we had a sink hole close to one side of the house.

The ground caved in for seemingly no other reason than a sink hole developing. $ 19,000 later we knew that an addition to the house had been built right on top of an old, disused/ disconnected septic tank. The septic tank had not been back filled properly and the railway ties which were used as cover had rotted and were collapsing. It was/ is huge, really huge: 20 ft by 20 ft and 12 ft deep with 2 ft wide concrete walls.

The top of this septic monster is 8 ft below ground level which puts the bottom 20 ft below ground level. It is subdivided into 3 chambers. After we had recognized the second chamber we thought we had it all figured out - wrong - some more poking led us to the third and (hopefully) final chamber.

There is no official record of this septic tank ("bunker" would be a better term).

In the same year and not much further down the road, someone replaced the existing trailer with a new house. When excavating the basement, they also found a large septic tank ........

    Bookmark   May 4, 2003 at 10:54PM
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