Sinkholes plague homeowner

  • Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Legend Oaks homeowner has sinkholes in her yard and just wants to know what she should do.
Advice, however, is hard to come by.
“I’m really concerned about the value of my property. …Nobody’s telling me what to do or how to handle it,” said Dori Hein.
Hein said she’s spoken to the homeowner’s association and the Dorchester County Water Authority, but hasn’t gotten relief.
When the county is contacted about sinkholes, it will identify water, sewer and stormwater lines and see how close they are to the sinkhole, said County Administrator Jason Ward.
If the hole is on private property and not near one of the lines, then the property owner has the responsibility to contact a private contractor, he said.
So far, Hein has been filling the holes with gallon milk jugs. She said she’s gotten perhaps 30 jugs in one hole and 13 in another.
Scott Howard, with the Geological Survey at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, said sinkholes are fairly common, but without looking at one it’s impossible to tell the cause.
They could be manmade, or they could be caused when carbonite material in the ground dissolves and creates a void space.
That’s what appears to have happened in Georgetown, he said – the void grew, and interconnections were made. The underground void was stable, however, because water was filling the space and providing support.
People who lost property in that sinkhole have alleged that when road crews began pumping the water out, the support evaporated and the ground collapsed.
Howard said a remedy for sinkholes can be to put something in the hole, like concrete, that will solidify it. Every case is different, though, he said.

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