Sinkholes: Signs You May Be At Risk For This Devastating Phenomenon

19 October 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Does the thought of having a sinkhole incident occur on your property frighten you? Perhaps you think it is outlandish that such an event could happen. This is because many people think that all sinkholes are massive like the ones that are typically reported on local and national news stations. This misunderstanding can lead to a number of people not understanding the risks or dangers that they could be facing. According to the website American Scientist, 35-40 percent of the US has underlying evaporite rock, which can be dissolved in a matter of days due to human or natural causes. This dissolving of evaporite rock is what causes sinkholes, and the following are a few signs of potential sinkhole issues. 

Drainage Problems

If you have noticed areas of unexplained ponding on your property, these could be areas that may eventually turn into sinkholes. You should particularly pay attention to areas that were dry in the past but have recently started having ponding issues after rain or other precipitous events. The areas around fences and large trees may also appear to change. For example, improper drainage may cause these structures to lean or sink into the ground. Exposed tree roots may also happen due to soil erosion.

Sediment in Water

Dirt and other types of sediment may be apparent in water when there is a potential sinkhole risk. This can happen as a result of pipes getting damaged. It can also be a sign that the pipes are not in their original placement, which allows the soil to enter them. For example, the soil may be wasting away and no longer offering the pipes the stability they require.

Newly Exposed or Sinking Foundation Areas

Routinely take a walk around your property and observe the foundation. If you notice that the foundation has areas that once were not visible, it is a sign that the soil around the foundation may be eroding. You might also start to notice that your home appears to be going into the ground in a manner that looks like the foundation is shrinking. This is a sign that the underlying soil may be giving in to the weight of your home, which could result in a future sinkhole issue. 

A civil engineer is a good resource to use if you see signs of a potential sinkhole issue. Remember even a small sinkhole can have devastating consequences. For example, an Illinois golfer noticed a seemingly harmless, grassy indentation at a golf course about the size of a bathtub. The indentation was actually a sinkhole that caused the golfer injuries. If sinkhole areas are identified in a timely manner, they may be able to be rectified or at a minimum save lives and prevent injuries. For more information, contact a business such as Tbird Design Services Corporation.