Sinkhole or pothole? Sweetwater is set to fix a hole in the ground, no matter what it’s called.
Two weeks ago, on Sept. 12, Mayor Jose Diaz called for an emergency meeting to get approval from commissioners to repair what he called a “sinkhole” located in the right-of-way in front of a house on the 11200 block of Southwest Fourth Street.
“It was brought to my attention we have a sinkhole,” he said at the meeting. “I think it’s a great liability for the city. It can cause an accident to a car, person or animal.”
However, city consulting engineer Eric Gomez said the hole, which is 3 feet by 4 feet and approximately 6 to 8 inches deep, is not completely characterized as a sinkhole.
“I would not call it a sinkhole. The area affected is surrounding an existing catch basin that is used to collect runoff water from rain events. This catch basin structure has been there for many years, and it appears that when the catch basin structure was installed, the immediate surrounding area was not appropriately backfilled and/or compacted,” he said. “This lack of material and/or compaction would cause the area to drop down. It is more like a pothole than a sinkhole.”
Sinkholes have been in the news in Florida. Just recently in Ponte Vedra Beach, a car fully submerged underground. In Orlando, a 60-foot-wide sinkhole caused a three-story building to collapse, forcing guests out of their rooms. In March, a 100-foot sinkhole opened, which swallowed and killed a man in Hillsborough County.
A sinkhole is a depression or holes in the land surface, usually occurring in the west-central part of the state. It is the result of dissolving of the underlying limestone, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
“You never know about a hole or what the ramifications are or what is around it,” said Gomez.
The hole is around a drainage structure and rain has damaged it over time, but it’s not as dangerous as those appearing in the news as of late.
“It’s Mother Nature; after so much rain, the area around the structure caved in,” Gomez said. “It’s not a sinkhole like up in Tampa.”
The city will pay $4,575 to Rumbo Drainage & Paving Inc., which will fill it in and add asphalt to repair it.
The issue has been in the area for a while.
“We tried to fix it once, but the rain brought it down,” Gomez said. “The job that the city did wasn’t enough.”
Work is expected to start in about two weeks.