PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Friday is the last day that 400 residents who live near a huge Land O’ Lakes sinkhole can get their water tested for free.
Pasco County is offering the testing because of concerns about water quality due to the sinkhole, which opened up on July 14.
The sinkhole swallowed two homes on Ocean Pine Drive in the Lake Padgett Estates community. Dramatic video showed one of the homes as it collapsed.
The sinkhole was estimated to be 225 feet wide and 50 feet deep after it formed that day.
Pasco County Assistant County Administrator of Public Safety Kevin Guthrie said on Thursday that ten more feet of topsoil fell from the rim of the sinkhole last weekend after there was significant rainfall in the area. The sinkhole now measures 235 wide but remains 50 feet deep.
Crews could begin removing debris from the sinkhole on Monday.
When crews begin cleaning debris from the sinkhole, they’ll also work to stabilize the water so it meets EPA water quality standards. It could take two to three weeks to remove the debris.
Crews will also take debris from the sinkhole to a local landfill. Residents who lived in the two homes that were destroyed will then be able to go through the debris to look for any valuables they can recover.
Residents of five homes that are close to the sinkhole are still not allowed to return. Guthrie said that two of the homes were occupied by renters, the other three homes were owned by the people who lived there.
Guthrie said that 17 wells in the neighborhood have been retested. Of those wells, three tested positive for coliform. Those homeowners have been told their wells will need to be cleaned.
400 residents along Lake Padgett and Lake Saxton are eligible to have their water tested for free through Friday, July 28.
All residents living on the following streets qualify for free well water testing:
Bronze Leaf Place, Canal Place, Clover Leaf Lane, Flat Rock Place, Grove Place, Heatherwood Lane, Lake Padgett Drive, Lake Saxon Drive, Ocean Pines Drive, Panther Way, Peninsular Drive, Pine Shadow Drive, Rain Forest Place, Snook Circle, Swans Landing Drive and Wilsky Road.
Residents who would like their well water tested should do the following:
- Go to the Pasco County Environmental Laboratory located at 8864 Government Drive in New Port Richey and request a test kit for Total Coliform.
- Present proof of address and receive lab instructions to collect water.
- Take a sample of their tapwater according to lab protocols, and bring the sample and associated paperwork back to the laboratory.
- Results will be available in 2 days.
Guthrie also said on Thursday that the county has received numerous phone calls from residents who want the county to come out and test their property for sinkhole activity. Guthrie said that this type of testing is the responsibility of the home owner.
“At the end of the day as I’ve already said, this is a property owner’s insurance responsibility. We’ve had a lot of calls into our office that I want the county to come out and do ground penetration. Let me be very clear county tax payer dollars are designed to be used for specific situations.
And one of those situations is not going onto private property and utilizing tax payer dollars to conduct geo-testing to see if there is a sinkhole under their home.”
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