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Company says it never fixed FL sinkhole

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 18:04:21-04

LAND O' LAKES, FL (WFTS/CNN) - It could take months for crews in Florida to clear damage from a massive sinkhole that swallowed two houses last week.

No injuries were reported, but the damage was serious.

But new details are emerging about the property's history.

Apparently, county administrators, a former property owner and a contractor were made aware of the sinkhole years ago.

"What can you say, I mean you wouldn't wish this on anyone especially our neighbors," said Zamira Rodriguez, who lost her home to the sinkhole.

Engineers said former neighbors rejected a plan to fix a confirmed sinkhole at their home half a decade ago.

"What as originally recommended was not done and they did an alternate repair," said one resident.

The original, full repair would have cost $150,000 due to a process called "compaction grouting."

"The only way to remediate a sinkhole is to compaction grout it," said Drew Glasbrenner, who works for Bracken Engineering. "That's pumping concrete down in and the idea is to seal the top of the limestone."

But the homeowner decided in 2014 to go with a much cheaper plan proposed by which simply stabilized the structure.

Contractor Helicon Foundation Repair filed a document with the county that said they used compaction grout in the repair.

Glasbrenner said this constitutes a violation.

"If there was not compaction grout performed at the site it should not be on that form," he said.

A Helicon spokesperson said a former employee incorrectly filed the document, but that the county should have caught the mistake.

The owners listed the home for sale as a repaired sinkhole home. When they sold it, their disclosure form said a sinkhole had been discovered and an insurance claim paid, but not all the money was used to repair the damage.

"Things need to be looked at a little more carefully when with regards to what remediation activities qualifies to get that sinkhole label taken off of it," Glasbrenner said.

Another engineer said the sinkhole was so vast, no repair would have fixed it.

He said to fix it now would take an estimated 10,000 yards of grout at a cost of $3 million.

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