Thursday, March 29, 2007


The problem here is inadequate maintenance, similar to what our levees and other flood protection assets struggle with.

Mature public leadership, realizing that the maturation of infrastructure calls for ongoing maintenance, needs to respond, and one hopes they do.

The looming sinkhole crisis
Aging pipes badly needing repair are to blame for craters cropping up in cities worldwide.
By Thomas Rooney
March 28, 2007

WHEN THEY SAW the recent pictures of a giant sinkhole in Guatemala, some folks in Los Angeles may have thought: "It could never happen here."

They're wrong.

The Guatemala City sinkhole that killed three people and swallowed dozens of homes was formed by the same thing that creates sinkholes in Los Angeles. Not weather. Not an act of God. Not strange rock. Bad sewer pipes created this sinkhole. And the problem is getting worse, around the world and in the United States.

Last year was the worst ever in the U.S. for sinkholes. Almost every state in the country experienced record problems.

In San Diego, the mayor held a news conference near a yawning abyss. A 64-year-old Brooklyn woman fell into a 5-foot-deep sinkhole in front of her house.

In Los Angeles, a broken water main created a sinkhole 30 feet deep and shut down half of Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu. At the same time, a broken sewer pipe shut down the adjacent beach.

In Northern California, an 8-foot-deep sinkhole stunned the occupants of a nearby office building. In Grand Rapids, Mich., residents had to boil water after a sinkhole cut off their water service