Odds are you’ve probably seen a sinkhole before. If not in person, then on the news, as they tend to make for pretty sensational stories. Take for instance, the one that occurred at the intersection of Detroit and Bancroft in Toledo in 2013. The school teacher was driving to work when the street simply opened up and her car plunged into the crater.
When one large enough to engulf a car occurs, it’s rather exciting, albeit dangerous. Sometimes they are caused by a natural geological phenomenon, and sometimes they are caused from human error. But it’s possible to spot one before they occur.
Here’s five common signs of a sinkhole:
A round circular depression in the earth
Before the ceiling of a void collapses completely, it tends to droop or depressed and usually have a circular shape.
Localized subsidence or depression anywhere on the property
An area that has dropped down relative to the surrounding land.
A circular lake (or a large, deep puddle)
This can be indicative of a sinkhole that has opened up and been filled with water.
A foundation settling
If part of the structure starts dropping down and cracking, this could be a sign of a sinkhole forming under a house or building though Cracking in your foundation could also be the result of expanding clay.
Cracks in the road
The spider web like cracks you see in the road could be signs of a sink hole forming. As is the case with the one mentioned above, that was created from leaks in the city’s water system that had gone undetected.
While a sinkhole may seem like little more than an annoyance in your front lawn, especially if you see no real damage, it is important to get them taken care of immediately. They can threaten water supplies, harm anyone who may inadvertently step into one, cause rupture of any surrounding gas lines, etc.
If you see one; here’s some tips on taking immediate action. Of course, not all of these apply to every sinkhole, but you can still be pro-active if they occur besides on your own property:
- Notify all parties: occupants, owners, real estate agents and buyers.
- Notify the City of Toledo Water Department.
- Fence or rope off the hole.
- Keep children away!
- Take photographs for documentation, but do not get too close to the edges.
- Protect the area from garbage and waste.
- Contact the homeowner’s insurance company.
- Inform the parties that there are engineering firms specializing in the detection and evaluation of potential and evident sinkholes.
- Record in your report the actions you took, including notifications and referrals.
If a sinkhole happens on your property, the professionals at E & K Contractors can come out to survey the damage and give you an estimate on any repairs that are necessary. This can range from taking care of the crater caused by the sinkhole, to repairing damage caused to your underground sewer or gas lines.