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A massive hole in the ground behind two houses along Brush Everard St. inside the Austin Ridge subdivision in Stafford is threatening to swallow the two homes near it. The Stafford County Fire Marshall has ordered the families of the house stay out until further notice, and the site of the dangerous hole has been fenced off to everyone. According to neighbors the hole showed up on Saturday and has progressively been getting deeper. On Tuesday neighbors said the hole was more than 12 feet deep and it has already swallowed the two back yards of the homes near it. Katrina Barnes who lives in one of the two condemned houses said , "it was still moving so fast that they were concerned about the structure and our well being, and every day since we've been coming by it's been getting deeper and deeper." Some neighbors told 9News they believe the recent earthquake, hurricane, and non-stop rains in the Washington area have irritated what they describe as an already weak foundation due to faulty construction.
North-America Country: USA County / State: State of Virginia Area: Brush Everard St. City: Stafford Coordinate: N 38° 26.756, W 77° 24.966
What is a Sink Hole?
Although sink holes are the given names of many things in different areas of the country, here in metro Atlanta sink holes are technically just burial pits. For many years it was common practice for all types of debris to be buried instead of hauled off and disposed of. The one thing that most sink holes have in common is the presence of land clearing debris; that is stumps and brush. We have also discovered logs, construction debris, tires, and quite a few other things. We classify these holes in three different categories or types.
The first type of sink hole is what we call the development hole which is generally the largest and most expensive type to resolve. This type of burial pit was done during the original development of the neighborhoods. Often times this type of hole will exist on a property in the front yard and is typically parallel to the road or to a storm water easement. At this point in development the very largest equipment was on site and digging a large hole was very easy and inexpensive compared to hauling off the debris. Many of these holes cross property lines and some are extremely vast containing tremendous volumes of debris.
The second type of sink hole is what we call a lot clearing hole. This is by far the most common. Many neighborhoods in the Atlanta area which were developed and built between 1975 and 1991 have this type of burial pit at almost every house. This type of hole will generally be in a location that is consistent with it having been done at the same time as the foundation of the house was prepared. They can also be extremely large and deep and always contain land clearing debris. They are also often in the back yard where they are very hard to access with the necessary equipment.
The third type of hole is what we call a clean up hole. This type of hole was typically done when the lot was being cleaned up to prepare for landscaping near the end of construction. These holes are often times not very large having been done with just a small skid steer piece of equipment and contain construction debris along with some stumps and brush.
We are never quite sure going into a sink hole repair what we will find but never cease to be surprised. Although it seems incompetent for this to have ever been done looking back there is much to understand about it having been common practice for so long. First of all it was a completely legal practice at the time. The laws related to Real Estate Disclosure changed sometime in 1991. These changes did not make it illegal to dig holes and bury debris. It simply made it to where if you did dig holes and bury debris you had to disclose it when and if you sold the property. It is something that still goes on today although to a much lesser extent. During that time, large masses and debris were difficult to dispose of as well as inefficient.
Today we have large equipment that can turn whole trees into wood chips and dispose of stumps in a matter of seconds. Also today is the widely used practice of hauling debris in temporary dumpsters which can carry more than twice as much debris than the dump trucks which were the common tool of hauling at that time. The smaller portions of trees were typically burnt when the season permitted and the large trees were used as pulp wood and lumber. The stumps were the one thing that they simply had no good way to get rid of back then. The typical landfills still today will not accept tree stumps as they are problematic in their operations. Nowadays we typically are hauling the debris either to private land fills that will accept that type of debris or to places where the debris is ground into mulch and utilized as mulch or composted into soil products. Those options simply did not exist during the time period when burying the land clearing debris was common place. It is becoming more and more expensive to dispose of our debris.
Originally posted by mugger
It almost looks like the backyards were created man made on a ledge. I have seen homes built here in Pa. like that.
They keep backing filling the ledge in to create a yard were there once was a ledge.
Out of curiosity, are these homes anywhere near the earthquake zone?
It is VERY close to the VA Earthquake location. The quake was located at 37.975N - 77.968W. This sinkhole is located at 38N - 77W