There’s a sinkhole in Florida and it’s growing hungrier by the minute: after consuming two homes last week, the ever-expanding pit just gobbled up a hot tub and is threatening to leave more locals homeless.
Pasco County authorities are trying to comfort residents of the Land O’Lakes neighborhood where the sinkhole appeared, reassuring them that there is no reason to panic. But officials are also evacuating residents in the sinkhole’s path as they struggle to address the problem.
The sinkhole is currently 235 feet wide, 10 feet wider than it was several days ago, indicating steady growth. It has remained 50 feet deep since it appeared. Five homes near the sinkhole had already been evacuated and more could soon follow.
“This is not a time for panic,” Pasco County assistant public safety administrator Kevin Guthrie said. “We have somebody out here monitoring the sinkhole, monitoring the expansion. We will let people know in plenty of time that they need to get their stuff together and be ready to go. When we say, ‘Now is the time to leave,’ it’s time to leave. It’s not time to pack things up.”
Engineers have proposed a number of solutions to the sinkhole, but conditions are difficult because of the sandy soil and relentless heat.
Officials are also warning nearby residents about the possibility of a contaminated water supply, advising anybody who lives within 500 feet of the sinkhole to use bottled water. Officials have tested 20 water wells for E. coli and all of them have come back clean, but a re-test is pending to ensure that nobody falls ill.