Federal grant will address state’s sinkhole vulnerability

by Michael Mosher on July 13, 2014

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TALLAHASSEE –A $1.08 million federal grant will allow the Florida Geological Survey and the Florida Division of Emergency Management to conduct a statewide assessment of sinkhole vulnerability in Florida starting this fall.

The Florida DEP says the three-year project will start with geologists conducting a one-year pilot study in Hamilton, Columbia and Suwannee counties.

The results of the pilot study will then be put into a map showing areas vulnerable to potential sinkholes. The resulting model will then be used to produce a statewide map during the following two years.

“Florida’s geology is complex and this grant will allow the Florida Geological Survey to produce a predictive tool that will refine our understanding of sinkhole occurrence throughout the state,” said Dr. Jon Arthur, Director of the Florida Geological Survey. “Ultimately, this assessment will aid planners, builders and environmental regulators for the betterment of human health and safety as well as the economy.”

The information gathered will help improve the State of Florida Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan risk assessment section on sinkholes as well as its corresponding mitigation strategies. An appendix to the State Hazard Mitigation Plan will be added to the project’s full findings.

The request was sparked by Tropical Storm Debby, which brought heavy rainfall to Florida in June 2012, triggering the formation of sinkholes.

In the months leading up to Tropical Storm Debby’s record rainfall event, most of Florida had been experiencing extreme drought conditions, resulting in lowered water levels in our aquifers. The result was an outbreak of sinkholes when rainwater caused dry underground voids — previously filled with water — to collapse.

For more information on Sinkhole Repair check our website

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