Sinkhole worries resident

  • Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leslie Cantu/Journal Scene -- The sinkhole in Tammy Navarro-Owens’ front yard is one of many that have developed over the years. They’re generally hidden by the grass, making them hazards for anyone mowing the lawn or playing in the yard. --


A Barony Ridge homeowner is trying to get the town to fix a sinkhole problem in her yard before someone gets hurt.
For years the town has employed temporary fixes but hasn’t permanently solved the problem, Tammy Navarro-Owens said.
Neighborhood children play in the front yards, and she’s afraid one will stumble into a hole, like the hole she once fell in up to her knee.
A tree root stopped her from going any further, she said.
“I don’t even know how deep it was,” Navarro-Owens said.
Mayor Bill Collins said the town’s stormwater department is working on it.
“I think a solution will be coming reasonably soon,” he said. “(Stormwater Manager Robert MacDonald) said we will get it taken care of.”
MacDonald said the town is getting estimates to put a liner in place for 470 feet of pipe. The process, he said is, “permanent, very durable and will resolve all the sink hole issues on this pipeline.”
However, the behind-the-scenes preparations will take time, he said.
There’s no immediate danger to life or property, he said.
The mayor said the town’s records don’t indicate this has been an ongoing problem. The recent publicity surrounding the man in Florida who died when a sinkhole opened beneath his bedroom has probably prompted her worries, Collins said.
Navarro-Owens, however, said the problem extends much farther back.
She bought her home, near the edge of town limits, in 1987. In her back yard is a storm drain, and a drain pipe runs below ground along the side of her property.
She said she first fell through a hole in 1990, and town representatives came out and filled the hole.
“Every time I call they do come out, but they don’t fix or correct whatever’s causing the problem,” she said.
There is a slight but visible valley between her house and her neighbor’s, roughly along the path between storm drains.
Navarro-Owens said that land was originally level; in fact, she said, the slope can be seen in how it’s thrown her brick borders off balance.
The latest sinkhole began developing March 4. It was small enough at first that an orange cone was sufficient to mark it, but with the rains the hole grew.
She measured it at almost 22 inches, and at her request a crew returned to tape off the hole.
With last weekend’s rains, the hole grew more, she said.

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