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Honored Contributor
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We sold our home in the NE to retire to Florida 5 years ago.It was a nice home built in 1983 and we had done a lot of upgrading and remodeling as we could afford to. Yesterday we got an e mail from our former neighbor telling us about the entire plan having water problems with the area getting so much daily rain. One of the neighbors has a small fountain bubbling up through a crack that developed in her driveway and another group of neighbors had a hillside fall away in the backyard. Then she sent us a picture of our former yard where a 5 ft wide sinkhole has developed.OMG ! I can't imagine that. She said everything looked fine and she heard a noise and when she looked outside there was this hole in the yard! It is about 20ft from the house. She said the township is supposed to come in tomorrow to dig it up and see if they can find out why it happened.What a mess! I feel so badly for the people who bought our house. But we are certainly glad it is not ours anymore.

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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

Much of Florida is built on old coral beds (calcium carbonate I believe) that erodes easily. There are also many underground rivers running through voids in the coral that slowly erode it away. Once enough erodes away it becomes too weak to support the weight of the soil above and a new sinkhole is formed.

 

I have a pet theory that a solution to the sinkhole issue is to simply melt waste plastic (the stuff that's filling up landfills) and use that melted plastic to fill the voids. It never rots, decays, erodes away, or disappears, so rather than burying it in landfills use it to fill in sinkholes. Stop about three to six feet from the ground surface to allow for a good thick soil layer, but when the coral erodes away replace it with something that never will.

 

Such a solution would solve two problems at once at a very low cost. Most plastic melts at a fairly low temp, so you don't need a blast furnace to melt it. Tons of plastic gets thrown away each day, so there's an endless supply and old landfills could even be mined to acquire more. When a sinkhole appears a truck carrying bales of plastic and a melter with hose would pull up. The hose would be placed in the sinkhole and bale after bale of plastice melted and pumped in to fill the void. Voila! Two problems solved! Waste plastic finds a good use filling sinkholes instead of landfills.

 

Once the mass of plastic cools (and it would take a while for a ten, twenty or more feet thick hunk of plastic to cool) soil could be trucked into top things off and that sinkhole would be fixed forever more. Over time nearly all of Florida's coral underpinnings could be replaced in such a manner.

Fly!!! Eagles!!! Fly!!!
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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

Interesting possibility.

 

I'm not quite certain from the original post where that sinkhole is.  Is it in Florida or somewhere in the NE where she used to live? 

 

I don't even know enough to know how many different causes of sinkholes we're fioghting over the country although I do know parts of Florida are more prone to them than others.

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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

She doesn't want to tell you the old house was in Pittsburgh where she used to live because she doesn't want to tell you  know who she really is.

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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

GardenMan, that is an interesting theory, but if the coral is eroding away because of water flowing through it, filling the hole with plastic will block the water flow and cause it to go around the blockage eroding coral around the plastic plug creating a new sink hole. A pipe could be put down through the center of so of the plastic plug to allow for the water flow. Other than that, it seems like a sound theory, but you couldn't build on it unless it is structurally dense enough to take the weight. I'm sure such a cheap solution to a huge and costly problem will never make it to reality just like aspirin studies indicating it as a great preventer of cancers, but drug companies can't make money on it/re-coop their research costs, so more research will not be done.
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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

Texas also has a huge problem with sinkholes and foundation problems due to the land.
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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

Yes, this sounds like a retiree/happy housewife who was a nurse and lives in Fla. but I thought they went back tp PA for the summer and ived in their camper.  

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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard


@millieshops wrote:

Interesting possibility.

 

I'm not quite certain from the original post where that sinkhole is.  Is it in Florida or somewhere in the NE where she used to live? 

 

I don't even know enough to know how many different causes of sinkholes we're fioghting over the country although I do know parts of Florida are more prone to them than others.


You are correct , as I thought I had made very clear, it is our former home not our current home in Florida, thank goodness!

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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard


@Tigriss wrote:
GardenMan, that is an interesting theory, but if the coral is eroding away because of water flowing through it, filling the hole with plastic will block the water flow and cause it to go around the blockage eroding coral around the plastic plug creating a new sink hole. A pipe could be put down through the center of so of the plastic plug to allow for the water flow. Other than that, it seems like a sound theory, but you couldn't build on it unless it is structurally dense enough to take the weight. I'm sure such a cheap solution to a huge and costly problem will never make it to reality just like aspirin studies indicating it as a great preventer of cancers, but drug companies can't make money on it/re-coop their research costs, so more research will not be done.

 

Yeah, it would be a patch to fix a problem as further erosion would continue taking place, but if it was used to fix every sinkhole eventually all of the susceptible areas would be filled with plastic eliminating the problem. I suspect the big drawback would be the environmentalists who would be concerned about chemicals leaching out of the plastic, but I don't think that would be a real world issue. Plastic, once it's set is pretty darn inert stuff. It would be buried deep enough that fire shouldn't be an issue. Locally we have several small manmade mountains of landfills that are largely filled with plastic so there should be no shortage of raw material. I suspect the tar melting pots/pumps used for roofing tar could be easily modified for this purpose. It would be interesting to experiment with this type of an approach to see how it worked. It might take a week or two to fill a sinkhole, but once filled that plastic plug should never fail.

Fly!!! Eagles!!! Fly!!!
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Re: Sinkhole in the backyard

You betcha.

 

Nic #5