Sinkholes ruining homes in region

There are 13 comments on the Orlando Sentinel story from Sep 19, 2007, titled Sinkholes ruining homes in region. In it, Orlando Sentinel reports that:

Houses with cracking walls and snapping trusses. A bank with a sinking drive-through lane.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Orlando Sentinel.

Interested Observer

Farmington, CT

#1 Sep 19, 2007
Gee, more of these things! I'm fascinated!

How do homeowners deal with these things?

Do the holes keep getting bigger after one happens?

Does homeowners insurance cover this kind of thing?

How would one go about "repairing" damages - or is that not an option?

If you know any of the answers, please reply.
Orlando Homegrown

Orlando, FL

#2 Sep 19, 2007
"If you don't believe I'm sinking, look at the hole I'm in!" My grandfather used to say that to me all the time.Never did understand what he was referring to. I don't think he was talking about sink holes but living with sink holes all around me gives me a whole new appreciation for his little diddy.
Interested Observer

Farmington, CT

#3 Sep 19, 2007
Lyrics are from an old jug-band song. Also, recorded by the Grateful Dead (circa 1966).

Check it out:
http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/introjs.htm...

But, where's my answers?
Cinda

Northbrook, IL

#4 Sep 19, 2007
Florida has sinkholes...the coal mining state have mine subsidence. Sinkholes are a fact of life in Florida but believe it or not the damage they cause to homes in most cases is repairable. Homeowners insurance does cover damage from sinkholes. It will repair the damage to the house but in most cases the homeowner is responsible for fixing the hole, pumping concrete, dirt or whatever the situation calls for, insurance does not cover problems with the land itself. More than likely you will have to have engineers sign off that the hole is stable. Believe it or not sinkholes are not nearly as costly as people would believe (most cases but not all). Last year or the year before I read where there was a sinkhole in Sanford that swallowed up a barn with a couple of horses, one of the horses died while they tried to get it out of the hole. Florida is really quite an eventful state.
irony

Lexington, SC

#5 Sep 19, 2007
they occur in times of drought... or conversly, when there have been heavy rains... over a period of weeks/months. this is due to ground water shifting. many of the lakes in florida were created by sinkholes. a famous sinkhole swallowed a car dealership, a house and part of a municipal swimming pool in winter park back in '81 it is now lake rose. here is an awesome photo, click on the links at the bottom of the page, and you'll see more views.

http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ozsvath/image...

some sinkholes can actually drain lakes, as was the case back in 2000 in the apopka/wekiva area.

certain areas are more prone to sinkholes, and are tracked by insurance companies. if you live in one of the higher risk areas, your premiums are affected.
simple

Winter Garden, FL

#6 Sep 19, 2007
Well, if the sinkholes don't get you the hurricanes, gators, insects, snakes, lovebugs, heat, humidity, amoebas, crime, traffic, resort tax, tourist tax, tolls, daily rain, will! I love central Florida!
RightOn

Winter Haven, FL

#7 Sep 19, 2007
Great posts, folks.

Now I know why the lakes in FL (around Clermont, for example) are so perfectly round.....
SandwichGen

United States

#8 Sep 19, 2007
"Do the holes keep getting bigger after one happens?"

Maybe. Sink holes can develop very abrubtly or slowly over days, weeks, or years. It depends on the type of sink hole, the size of the collapsing cavity, and the water table.

"Does homeowners insurance cover this kind of thing?"

My homeowners policy does cover sink holes. Insurers are required to offer sink hole coverage as either part of the policy or as a rider. It can be tough to find an insurer on properties where sink hole claims have been made in the past. We have to read our policies carefully, because they may or may not cover the cost of repairing a sink hole.

"How would one go about "repairing" damages - or is that not an option?"

Some sink holes can be filled in. Smaller sink holes that 'eat' buildings or roads are routinely repaired by using either a grout or pins and fill. Whatever is used must be clean, and it's likely that a permit will be needed from the local Water Management District, because many of our sink holes connect directly to the aquifer-where we get our drinking water.

Think of Florida as sitting on top of carbon based rock, for example-limestone. Over time, rain water seeping through the stone erodes it a bit. Areas of weakened stone, or cavities created by the erosion, form. When water tables are high, the pressure from the water supports the ground but can continue eroding the stone. When water tables rise and fall, the rock can collapse....which leads to sink holes.

Many of our lakes and ponds are actually water filled sink holes. Round lakes or ponds are usually old sink holes. I look at it like this, my cousins up north deal with mud slides and rock slides....and while sink holes are a risk here, they are no more onerous than what my cousins deal with....;)

Here are some links you might find interesting:

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/geology/geologicto...

http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/guide/sinkholes.ht...

http://www.saberleveling.com/florida/floridas...

http://edcwww.cr.usgs.gov/earthshots/slow/Orl...
Typie

United States

#9 Sep 19, 2007
Ahhhhh yes, nothing like the sound of buildings falling into the earth in the morning.
republican

Kissimmee, FL

#10 Sep 19, 2007
it's the devil sucking the evil sinners from the face of the Earth into oblivion.
Interested Observer

Farmington, CT

#11 Sep 19, 2007
SandwichGen wrote:
"Do the holes keep getting bigger after one happens?"
Maybe. Sink holes can develop very abrubtly or slowly over days, weeks, or years. It depends on the type of sink hole, the size of the collapsing cavity, and the water table.
"Does homeowners insurance cover this kind of thing?"
My homeowners policy does cover sink holes. Insurers are required to offer sink hole coverage as either part of the policy or as a rider. It can be tough to find an insurer on properties where sink hole claims have been made in the past. We have to read our policies carefully, because they may or may not cover the cost of repairing a sink hole.
"How would one go about "repairing" damages - or is that not an option?"
Some sink holes can be filled in. Smaller sink holes that 'eat' buildings or roads are routinely repaired by using either a grout or pins and fill. Whatever is used must be clean, and it's likely that a permit will be needed from the local Water Management District, because many of our sink holes connect directly to the aquifer-where we get our drinking water.
Think of Florida as sitting on top of carbon based rock, for example-limestone. Over time, rain water seeping through the stone erodes it a bit. Areas of weakened stone, or cavities created by the erosion, form. When water tables are high, the pressure from the water supports the ground but can continue eroding the stone. When water tables rise and fall, the rock can collapse....which leads to sink holes.
Many of our lakes and ponds are actually water filled sink holes. Round lakes or ponds are usually old sink holes. I look at it like this, my cousins up north deal with mud slides and rock slides....and while sink holes are a risk here, they are no more onerous than what my cousins deal with....;)
Here are some links you might find interesting:
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/geology/geologicto...
http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/guide/sinkholes.ht...
http://www.saberleveling.com/florida/floridas...
http://edcwww.cr.usgs.gov/earthshots/slow/Orl...
Thanks for the reference materials - very interesting. This was in the news last month too. It must be a fairly frequent occurrence.
jan

AOL

#12 Sep 20, 2007
wow kate, what a great article...very nicely written!!! send me the one on the funeral...can't find it. love,mom
allyson

La Vergne, TN

#13 Oct 24, 2008
WOW, how fascinating.

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