Dozens of Sinkholes in Plant City, Florida after Farmers Pump Extra Water Trying to Protect Crops from Bitter Cold
In early January of this year, Florida experienced some unusually cold temperatures that forced Plant City area strawberry farmers to pump extra groundwater to try to protect their crops. Over the course of about 11 days, the groundwater table in areas of Plant City was lowered by as much as 60-ft.
Almost immediately as many as 80 sinkholes began opening up around that region. Including ones that jeopardized a 500,000-gallon water tower, several that shut down an elementary school and numerous ones that shut down roads and highways and affected individual property owners. Around 20 local homeowners were left homeless after sinkholes left their house uninhabitable. For comparison, based on data from Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Sinkhole Database for the period of 1998 to 2008 (the last year for which data is available), 77 sinkholes were reported to have opened up in Polk, Pasco and Hillsborough counties combined.
Local officials are seeking help from the State and FEMA to cover the estimated $3 million in damages. That figure is double what Plant City received from FEMA for the particularly bad 2004 hurricane season. And that dollar amount does not include what individual homeowners and property owners will be seeking from their insurance carriers. (Photos by Tampa Bay Online)
Read on for maps of Plant City sinkhole locations and more information.
I first heard about Geotech Tools through a TRB Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) publication titled Geotechnical Solutions for Soil Improvement, Rapid Embankment Construction, and Stabilization of the Pavement Working Platform. The final version of the report was released in February of this year. The report is one of the project deliverables for the SHRP 2 Project R02.
The primary deliverable of the project and the subject of this review is Geotechtools.org, a web-based tool for geotechnical engineers, structural engineers and pavement engineers. This website is a “toolkit of geotechnical information to address all phases of decision making from planning to design to construction.” What does that mean exactly? Great question. In this article I will give you an overview of the site and its resources and how it might help you on your next project.
It takes planning and good leadership to decide on an effective solution to problems associated with a building asset. Recently, a large wholesale warehouse facility in Cincinnati began to experience large sinkholes across a significant portion of their customer parking lot. Unable to determine the problem at that time, store management was forced to close a portion of the parking lot, inconveniencing their customers. This particular parking lot is unusual in that a drainage system is located directly under the parking lot, consisting of a network of pipes spanning 250 feet in length and 12” in diameter. Joint separations in the underground drainage piping had caused enough soil erosion to create sinkholes in the asphalt. Engineers were concerned that other unknown sinkholes could cave in anytime, resulting in further costly damage, and potentially posing safety hazards to customers.
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