Got a Sinkhole in Your Garden? How to Find Out if It’s Your Plumbing

Big sinkholes often make the news when they happen on a major roadway or in a big city. But, when a small sinkhole occurs in someone’s yard or garden, it simply becomes the homeowner’s problem.

What Causes Sinkholes?

Sinkholes can form from a wide variety of both natural and manmade causes. Natural causes include the collapse of bedrock and the sinking of water table levels. Cave and underground cavern collapses are another cause of natural sinkholes. If the underlying ground support collapses, a sinkhole forms.

On the other hand, broken water and sewer mains are a leading cause of man-made sinkholes. Water leakage underground softens and washes away the soil, eventually causing a sinkhole. Construction can also lead to man-made sinkholes if it disrupts the integrity of the supporting layer of rock. If you have a sinkhole in your garden, the first course of action is to uncover the cause.

Pipe Corrosion

One of the most common causes of sinkholes is pipe corrosion. Over time, the pipes that carry water to and from your home can become corroded, especially if they’re made of metal. When this happens, small holes can form in the pipes, which can lead to leaks.

Residential Sinkholes

The most common cause of residential sinkholes is broken or leaking water or sewer main. If your sinkhole is filled with water, or worse, with raw sewage, you have your answer. In either case, you’ll need to call a plumber.

Leaks are one of the most obvious signs that there may be a problem with your plumbing. If you notice water pooling in your yard or puddles forming that weren’t there before, it’s a good idea to check for leaks. Another telltale sign of a leaky pipe is green patches of grass or mold growing near where the sinkhole is located.

Sewage Buildup

Another common cause of sinkholes is sewage buildup. Unfortunately, over time sewage lines can become clogged with debris such as tree roots or grease, which can cause sewage to back up into your yard. This can create an unsightly mess and may even present a health hazard for you and your family.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent sinkholes from forming in your yard due to plumbing problems. First and foremost, it’s important to have your pipes regularly inspected by a professional plumber. This will allow them to catch any problems early on and prevent them from getting worse. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have your sewer line cleaned every few years to prevent clogs and backups.

Sewer Replacement Services

The worst case scenario is a broken sewer main. Not only does it cause a dangerous sinkhole, but it also causes a biological danger; raw sewage is swarming with all sorts of deadly viruses and bacteria, such as salmonella. A broken sewer main can put the health of you, your children, and your pets in danger.

Most of the time, a sewer replacement service will need to dig a trench to remove and replace the broken pipe. However, some sewer replacement services use innovative trenchless sewer repair and replacement. If you choose a plumbing service that uses trenchless technology, your garden or lawn will not be disrupted.

Natural Sinkhole Repair

While a natural sinkhole is not as common, it does occasionally happen in residential areas. If your sinkhole has not been caused by faulty water or sewer mains, you’ll need to call an excavator. Shallow, natural sinkholes can be repaired by digging down to the rock and pouring a concrete plug. Deeper sinkholes might need a process called cap grouting, in which a type of grout is injected into the bedrock.

While a broken sewer main is disgusting, it’s one of the easiest types of sinkholes to fix. In fact, a sewer replacement service might be able to fix the problem without digging a trench.