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Florida Sinkhole Leads to Condemnation of 7 Houses

Image: Florida Sinkhole Leads to Condemnation of 7 Houses

An expanding sinkhole destroys homes and is threatening others north of Tampa in Pasco County, Florida, on July 14, 2017. (Pasco Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Aug 2017 12:09 PM

A Florida sinkhole has led to seven houses being condemned in the Land O' Lakes area as it continues to haunt the area where it first opened up in mid-July.

Pasco County officials said the diameter of the sinkhole has grown by 25 feet in the Lake Padgett Estates since cleanup started last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Kevin Guthrie, assistant county administrator said that older, smaller sinkholes nearby may be making "minor adjustments."

"The entire area is riddled with previous sinkhole activity," Guthrie told the Times. "What you see here, in theory, is cause-and-effect type stuff."

The newspaper reported that 11 homes were initially evacuated when the sinkhole opened July 14, but some families were later allowed to return to their residences. Engineers said homes in the area were built on wetlands and the sinkhole may be trying to naturally reconnect underground with Lake Padgett, WTSP-TV reported.

"No different than if you are digging in beach sand, and you're close to the ocean," University of South Florida engineer Nick Albergo told the television station. "You start with a relatively small hole, you get to the water table, and the next thing you know the walls start falling in."

Reconnecting the sinkhole to the lake may be needed to restore balance.

"What I'm suggesting is that rather than wait and let nature do that on its own, which is unpredictable and less defined, go ahead and cut the channel. Stabilize the banks," Albergo told the television station.

Lori Collins, an archeologist and associate research professor at South Florida, told WTVT that her team constructed a 3D map of the sinkhole using drones and compared it with historical maps. She said the area was changed dramatically by dredging from the 1950s to 1970s.

"That dredge material was used to actually make the land that the sinkhole actually opened up on, or nearby, so a lot of these homes are sitting on what used to be lake bottom," Collins told WTVT.

"This development would be handled differently with the rules we have on the books now," Collins added.

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A Florida sinkhole has led to seven houses being condemned in the Land O' Lakes area as it continues to haunt the area where it first opened up in mid-July.
florida, sinkhole, houses, condemned
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2017-09-08
Tuesday, 08 Aug 2017 12:09 PM
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