Officials to consider connecting massive Pasco sinkhole to nearby lake

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – Pasco County officials are in the beginning stages of looking into what to do after the massive sinkhole on Ocean Pines Drive in Land O’ Lakes is cleaned up.

”There is no legal remedy that the county has to stop any of the homeowners from rebuilding their home back on this site,” Kevin Guthrie, assistant county administrator of public safety said.

Guthrie says homeowners would have to follow code and regulations if they choose to rebuild.

He says the county is also looking into what it would take to purchase the land.

“A University of South Florida scientist said he believes that one of the most effective remedies would be to look at actually acquiring the property from the homeowners and then connecting Lake Padgett back to the sinkhole,” Guthrie says.

Guthrie says there are many options and the county will determine which will work best.

The hole hasn’t grown since Friday evening, officials say.

It’s currently 225 feet wide and 50 feet deep.

Crews are expected to soon face the dangerous task of cleaning up the damage.

Septic tanks and household chemicals fell into the hole during the collapse. Because of that, crews tested the drinking water at 20 homes Monday for E.coli. The results are expected to be ready Tuesday by 3 p.m., officials say.

Duke Energy will have crews out Wednesday morning to relocate power lines to make way for heavy machinery.

“We’re going to be working very slowly, very deliberately, very methodically as we bring that heavy equipment in so that we don’t do any more damage to the situation than what’s already occurred,” Guthrie said.

He says it wouldn’t take much to cause another collapse.

“We’re told by structural engineers that 25 to 50 pounds of weight in any direction could cause the rest of that to collapse because of the washouts underneath,” he said.

Guthrie says they’re working with homeowners to make sure their needs of taken care of.

”Emergency officials have been very responsive and very accessible and are doing a terrific job from what I can tell so far,” neighbor Rolf Hartwig said.

“We’re going to communicate with them every step of the way. We’re going to walk this road hand in hand. We’re going to keep them informed,” Guthrie said.

OTHER LAND O’ LAKES SINKHOLE COVERAGE:

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