Problems at massive Pasco sinkhole slow down cleanup efforts

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – Work was set to begin to clean up the massive sinkhole in Lake Padgett Estates in Pasco County on Friday.

Late Thursday night, a problem developed, slowing that work down.

A ten foot long section of the side wall of the sinkhole collapsed.

“With the heavy equipment on the ground and the vibration, that soil around, that’s on the top layer around that perimeter of that sinkhole, is going to get vibrated and what ends up happening is that soil starts to collapse,” said Andy Fossa with Pasco County.

Fossa said a contractor will now work to stabilize the sides of the hole before continuing the work.

Related: Videos tell story of homes destroyed by Land O’ Lakes sinkhole

“It’s not that the sinkhole is growing, it’s that the unstable soil is falling in,” he said.

The massive sinkhole first appeared in mid-July, destroying two homes that fell in as the hole appeared.

A contractor will pump out water from the hole and then begin to clear debris from the hole, doing what they can to preserve belongings from the two homes.

“Whatever debris we’re able to salvage to a landfill and lay it out, and the residents will have the opportunity, at their own risk, to go through and salvage whatever they’d like,” said Tambrey Laine with Pasco County.

Pasco County sheriff’s deputies have now shut down streets leading to the sinkhole, only allowing residents with identification in to their homes.

Five homes near the edges of the sinkhole are still evacuated and it’s unclear if the residents will ever move back in.

“That’s up to them. We can’t control what their decision process is going to be. Once that hole is mitigated and remediate, it will be up to the homeowner to decide if they want to go back in their own house or not,” said Fossa.

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