Sinkhole Q&A from Florida Geological Survey

by Michael Mosher on July 13, 2014

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The Summer Bay Resort sinkhole has prompted interest and concern anew about sinkholes.

Here is some information about them from the Florida Geological Survey:

My yard is settling. Do I have a sinkhole? It’s possible, though many factors can be to blame for sinkholes. Testing by a licensed engineer with a licensed geologist on staff or a licensed geology firm may be in order if settling is affecting the structure. Property insurance may pay for such tests but in many cases insurance may not cover damage from settling due to causes other than sinkholes.

A sinkhole opened in my neighborhood…should I be concerned? Most sinkholes are isolated occurrences and there’s probably little cause for concern unless a hole is very large and extends to your property. If that happens, cordon off the area and call law enforcement to report the hazard and also contact the city or county about repairs. If it’s a private road, responsibility usually falls to the property owner or property owners association.

Is there a safe area of Florida where there is no chance of sinkholes? All of Florida is susceptible to sinkholes, though the risk is higher in areas such as those where limestone is near the surface.

Can a home inspector determine if there is a sinkhole on a property? Or determine if a property is more likely to have a sinkhole (e.g. land near water, etc.)? An inspector who is a licensed professional geologist and trained to recognize sinkhole activity might be able to tell if a sinkhole exists. The problem exists when the sinkhole has not yet developed on the property and it gets built on. At a later date a sinkhole can occur and damage the property. It’s possible to perform geological tests on a property and assess the potential for sinkhole development.

I am buying a new home and I want to know if there is a sinkhole disclosure law? Florida Statute 627.7073 (2)(c)) requires that a seller of real property is only obligated to disclose to the buyer that a sinkhole claim was made against the property and that the claim was paid by the insurer, and whether the money was used to sinkhole repair the insured damage.

Source: Florida Geological Survey


Full article…here

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