Florida to try to get a grasp on sinkholes with $1 million grant

From the tragedy in Seffner to the damage to Tiger Wood’s mansion, Florida’s sinkhole problem has garnered national attention in recent months. Until recently, very few people outside of the Sunshine State, and a couple of additional sinkhole-prone areas, had heard of sinkholes, but now many people have some knowledge of the natural phenomenon.

Although more and more people are becoming acquainted with sinkholes and sinkhole terminology, sinkholes do remain somewhat of a mystery, which is why people in Florida and other areas continue to be so vulnerable to them. Florida has recently received a $1.08 million federal grant to study sinkholes and perform some risk assessments.

The project is going to kickoff in Suwannee, Columbia and Hamilton counties, where the Florida Geological Survey along with the Florida Division of Emergency Management will begin with a one-year pilot.

The state of Florida decided to pursue this grant following Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, which spurred a number of dangerous sinkholes in the state. Debby was likely so problematic because it brought heavy rain immediately following a drought; this caused voids to form in the ground only to be filled with water and ultimately collapse.

The goal of the study is to learn more about the formation of sinkholes and Florida’s vulnerability in order to prevent losing lives and properties to sinkholes in the future.

For many Florida residents, unfortunately, this study is too little, too late, as a number of homeowners are already struggling to repair or halt sinkhole damage. Those who are in such a situation should consider contacting a sinkhole claim attorney in order to learn about their options and potentially pursue a sinkhole insurance claim. This is a complicated and difficult process, and it can be beneficial to seek legal counsel as early in the process as possible.

Source: Miami Herald, “Florida gets federal grant to study sinkholes,” Aug. 9, 2013