Sinkhole opens up on Baileyton residents’ front yard

by Michael Mosher on March 28, 2017

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Sinkholes are common in the Tennessee Valley.

Geologists say new ones appear often, which is why insurance agents encourage homeowners to get covered.

A couple in Baileyton was shocked when a sinkhole about four feet wide and over six feet deep opened up in his yard last week.

 “It was almost level at first, and I just noticed it getting a little bit lower and little lower, and then it opened up,” said William Perreault, Baileyton resident.

Scientists WAAY-31 talked to said the limestone underneath the surface of the earth can be easily eroded away by water, and there’s no exact science to know where they’ll pop up.

“It’s hard to predict these things. The earth has a lot of hidden answers to our questions,” said Denise Hills, with the Geological Survey of Alabama.

“It just came as a total surprise,” said Perreault.

Just like earthquakes, there’s not much warning when a sinkhole occurs, and homeowners could be stuck footing the bill because damage and repairs from sinkholes generally isn’t covered under basic insurance — just like earthquakes.

“Nobody knows what to do. It’s just one those things where we don’t know what to do,” said Perreault.

There are a few warning signs you can look out for.

 According to scientists, if there are multiple sinkholes in the surrounding area, you’re at a higher risk.
Increased rainfall can also cause more sinkholes.

“Think of it like a dam. A dam is more likely to burst if you have a lot of water behind it than if you don’t,” said Hills.

Perreault says he’s lucky he and his wife weren’t hurt, but he also knows he’s not out of the woods.

“It might be an ongoing thing. And when does it go underneath the foundation of this house? I have no idea,” said Perreault.

Scientists recommend contacting the Alabama Emergency Management Agency if you have a sinkhole on your property.
Read the full story here

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