Torrential Rains Like Sandy's Highlight Concerns Of Sinkhole Risk As Area Businesses Look For Understanding And Answers

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With sinkholes collapsing around Florida Local SEO’s home communities in Gainesville and Crystal River following bad storms, these concerns of Central Florida businesses take a front row seat, especially since delays can be very costly, if not deadly.

Sudden sinkhole causes costly damage to premises

As heavy rainfall precipitates sudden sinkhole collapse, the danger and damage can be costly!

If you see the 10 common signs of sinkhole or other foundation problems, don't wait. Get a foundation assessment immediately, because problems can and will get worse!

Located in the heart of Florida’s most dense sinkhole risk area, Florida Local SEO encounters businesses and homeowners who have had sinkhole remediation and wonder if it will hold when huge storms flood the land. The company's founder joins others in concern about possible sinkhole activity or shifting soil when they see cracks and separations in walls or cement, eerily suggestive of foundation failure that this area's weak soils and sometimes rainy spells can cause.

This is an intensely personal issue... and risk of living and doing business in this part of Florida. After all, sinkholes are a part of Florida’s natural environment and may develop abruptly following an extreme rain producing event such as Hurricane Sandy. The weight of such a large amount of rain water at the earth’s surface can cause an underground cavity to collapse if its limestone “ceiling” has become thin.

Recent news in Florida has been full of accounts of “sudden” sinkholes following heavy rains. In just the first few days after a July storm, nearby Marion County Emergency officials reported 47 sinkholes of varying size and level of danger. County engineers warned of more after the wet grounds began to settle.

In covering the sudden storm-related sinkhole problem, TV 20 (see video) highlighted the sinkhole damage that hurricanes and tropical storms of even lesser capacity than Sandy can cause. Local repair companies worked overtime to save homes from going under as Foundation Services’ GM and Partner, Robert Stephenson, reported: “I usually have eight or nine crews, and I’ve got all of them stretched out.” And he wasn’t alone…

Now Sandy serves as another wakeup call when the answer to “Got Cracks?” is “Yes!”

As Stephenson is quick to remind homeowners, “If you see one or more of these 10 common signs of sinkhole, settling or other foundation problems, don’t wait. Get an assessment of your home immediately, because problems can and will get worse! Stop them before they do.”

Sinkholes are not just a Florida phenomenon, as information published by the United States Geological Survey clearly shows. Americans have been alerted to many sinkhole problems, such as the methane-caused sinkhole in Louisiana’s Assumption Parish that made news daily in October and led to a mass evacuation order. Other earlier erosion events have become swimming holes or established tourist attractions, such as Cedar Sink at Mammoth Cave National Park. Two of the largest sinkholes are in Texas – Devil’s Sinkhole and Daisetta Sinkhole.

While sinkholes have occurred in most states, Central Florida is especially notorious for its frequent sinks due to the high water table, high groundwater flow from high rainfalls on shallow soils, and its porous limestone foundation. In Gainesville, Florida, UF students and area visitors climb down the popular, historic “Devil’s Millhopper.” Another favorite that’s steeped in history and geological significance is Kingsley Lake, six miles east of Starke, FL on the way to Jacksonville. That sandy bottom lake covers 2,000 acres, is 90 ft (27 m) deep, and it’s so close to being a perfect circle 3 miles wide that aviators call it “Silver Dollar Lake.”

Sinkholes are often known by generic or site specific names as “sink, snake hole, swallow hole, swallet, doline, blue hole, black hole, cenote and tiankengs. For example, the exquisite turquoise (cold) waters of “Blue Hole” near Fort White, Florida draw visitors from the Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

Wikipedia defines sinkhole as: “a natural depression or hole in the Earth’s surface caused by karst processes – the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks or suffusion processes for example in sandstone.”

The mechanism that forms sinkholes is erosion of slightly soluble bedrock (like limestone) and the collapse of ground cover into the cavities that form below, or the slow washing away of topsoil through the ever more porous substrata. And that is accelerated with storms such as Sandy.

Sinks are fascinating for a sightseer … but not when they suddenly occur in a homeowner’s front or back yard, underneath the home or business foundation, swallowing a car or in the middle of an Ocala farm or horse ranch! Early detection of sinkhole activity is vital, because most sinkholes can be stabilized and filled, and the home or business’ foundation repaired to create a sound foundation on solid ground … if it’s done right. So getting a prompt evaluation when tell-tale cracks appear is important.

Choosing the right foundation contractor with the expertise, technological advances and history of trust can be challenging, though. It’s a foreign problem for most property owners. Contractors are not created equal, and only those who have been accepted into the industry’s premier organization, FAS3, are recommended for this kind of work. Here are some questions to ask a sinkhole and foundation repair contractor before making a decision.

When the sinkhole remediation and foundation stabilization are done right, a homeowner should be able to breathe easily knowing the likelihood of any recurrence is extremely remote. In fact, one of the co-owners of Ocala’s highly respected Foundation Services, Keith Seyler, reports that they have never had to go back on a sinkhole remediation / foundation repair job.

Florida Local SEO's founder firmly believes it’s important, too, to give the homeowner or prospective purchaser the additional comfort that the contractor and those with even deeper pockets stand behind the work. Only select contractors such as Foundation Services of Central Florida are authorized to offer the industry's new and most comprehensive warranty coverage for Florida foundation stabilization projects. It’s transferable and backed by the largest warranty company in the USA and reinsured by an A.M. Best “A+” rated global company. Find out more about the warranty here.

With the wake-up call of Hurricane Sandy and sinkhole activity in the news, Margaret Hampton of FloridaLocalSEO’s wish for all Florida neighbors, and those in other states, is that they will inspect their homes, and if they suspect a problem, they will call a qualified foundation contractor immediately for an assessment. Delays can be costly … or even deadly!

Hampton of FloridaLocalSEO.com provides strategic marketing services, building upon her decades of visionary, multi-disciplinary, strategic management consulting in New York, Washington and Atlanta, with active commitment to community and helping others.

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