New cracks, problems found at massive Pasco sinkhole

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – The work is now underway to clean up a massive sinkhole at Lake Padgett Estates in Pasco County.

Over the weekend, county officials condemned homes after finding new evidence of cracking and after discovering a new depression in the backyard of one of the homes.

A contractor moved in two heavy excavators over the weekend to remove debris and begin the process of pushing in uncrushed limestone to fill in the sides of the hole.

More than 125 truck loads of dirt were moved into the hole on Saturday and Sunday. That work continued on Monday.

Several large containers filled with debris from the hole were moved out by trucks.

Despite the fact that new cracks and depressions have been found near the sinkhole, the county still isn’t sure if the sinkhole is expanding.

“We are reluctant to say the sinkhole is growing at this point, however, certainly Mother Nature is taking it back. If you look at the 30 and 40-year pictures here, apparently where some of those homes are located was in the middle of a lake,” said Doug Tobin with Pasco County.

University of South Florida professor Dr. Lori Collins is part of a team that’s been brought in to study the sinkhole.

Collins has a unique perspective. She grew up in the neighborhood and used to ride her bike in the area where the sinkhole now exists.

Collins says historic photos and maps of the area show the street where the sinkhole formed was once part of the lake, but the lake bottom was dredged to create land to develop homes.

“My suspicion is that this is all, the material that was once at the bottom of the lake was used to create land and this area used to be lake bottom, basically,” said Collins.

Work to clean up the hole is expected to be completed by August 18.

The county has allocated up to $1.3 million to pay for the work.

 

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