A sinkhole appeared in my yard, now what?

Sinkhole repair and remediation in Baltimore, Maryland

When most people think of a sinkhole, they picture a collapsing road with cars and homes sinking into a giant pit. However, the occurrence of a smaller sinkhole on your property is no less stressful. We understand that sinkholes are a dangerous eyesore to your lawn that must be dealt with quickly and effectively.  

Whether big or small, all sinkholes are a danger to your home and your family, but the causes behind them or no less serious. Sinkholes are caused by either deteriorating structures beneath the surface of your yard or an ongoing plumbing problem. Whatever its source, living with a sinkhole can be challenging.  

If your yard is currently suffering from a sinkhole, we have a solution. C.A. Taciak & Sons has three generations of experience remediating sinkholes in the Greater Baltimore Area. By combining expert plumbing practices with masterful excavation skills, we are the professionals your home deserves.

If you are ready to start the sinkhole repair process for your property, do not hesitate to get in touch. Schedule your consultation by calling C.A. Taciak & Sons. Please take advantage of our guide below if you want to know more about the sinkhole repair process. In this article, you will find information on the nature of sinkholes and our repair process. Use the links below to jump to a particular topic:

SinkholesCauses & RepairsCostsSchedule A RepairFAQ

What is a sinkhole?

A sinkhole is a mysterious pit that appears in your yard. Often appearing suddenly and unexpectedly, they range in size from small and harmless to large and dangerous. Usually, a sinkhole begins as a tiny hole in the ground and grows into a bigger depression.

Sinkholes usually start with dirt draining downwards into an underground cavity. It is common to see a sinkhole appear where a structure below the ground's surface has collapsed, such as a forgotten basement from a long torn-down home or an abandoned steel septic tank rusting out. Problems like these create a hollow void in your yard that swallows the dirt above it. Shifting geological structures can also produce sinkholes in your lawn. Areas with naturally occurring cavities and caves may experience the appearance of sinkholes.

Sinkholes also appear when an underground drain line collapses, separates, or cracks. When this happens, groundwater drains down through the dirt and into the pipe. The descending water pulls the soil along as it sucks into the pipe, creating a sinkhole. There is a tendency for this to occur around damaged sewer pipes, rain leaders, and septic systems. Maintaining your home's underground plumbing is crucial for preventing the appearance of sinkholes.

A drawing of a rectangular septic tank with a hole in it, filling up with dirt

Repairing a sinkhole in your yard

The first step in the sinkhole repair process is determining what is causing the hole to occur. Excavating the affected area will show the source of the sinkhole problem. As mentioned above, sinkholes are generally caused by:

  • A pipe break
  • Disintegrated debris
  • A forgotten portion of a septic system
  • A collapsing underground structure

If the discovery excavation reveals that the sinkhole is the product of a broken pipe, remediation requires a few steps. First, a plumber repairs the broken sewer, septic, or rain leader pipe. After fixing the pipe, extra dirt or gravel is brought in to replace the soil that had washed away. This way, the hole is filled in, and your lawn is restored and looking better than ever.

There is a different course of action when the diagnostic excavation shows that the sinkhole stems from deteriorating debris or a collapsing structure. In these situations, the deteriorating or collapsing structure first gets further demolished. Once demolition is complete, our crew builds a large "bean-bag" onsite out of geotextile fabric filled with gravel. This bean bag is then placed in the hole to fill the sinkhole void. The fabric holds everything in place while allowing water to drain through the gravel and soil. This design prevents further sinkhole expansion and will let you get your yard back to normal.

 C.A. Taciak & Sons provides our Baltimore neighbors with any sinkhole repair method required. If a suspicious pit has begun appearing on your lawn, please don't hesitate to contact us. We apply our 70+ years of plumbing and excavating experience to each sinkhole remediation project.

Sinkhole repair costs

At this point, you may wonder, "how much does a sinkhole repair cost?" As with most major home repairs, sinkhole remediation is an investment in your property value and your family's safety. We are happy to provide insight into the costs and processes behind all of our work.

Sinkhole repairs start at $3,500. The repair price increases depending on the nature and complexity of the project. Additional costs, including trucking in gravel, building the specialized "bean-bag," pipe repair, and tamping, will all increase the price. During the initial consultation for your home's sinkhole project, we provide you with a possible range of final pricing. All sinkhole remediation work is exploratory, so pricing is an estimate based on what we expect to find once excavating begins. However, we always strive to make sure that your sinkhole is the only surprising thing about your project.

Fix your sinkhole issues today

Has an unusual hole appeared in your yard? Shifting soil, damaged underground plumbing, or a collapsing structure may be the cause. If a sinkhole problem affects your property, we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact either Frank or Sam to answer any sinkhole or underground utility questions you may have. If you have determined that your property has a sinkhole that needs to be addressed or are concerned that one may be developing on your property, contact us for a solution.

Frequently asked questions about Sinkhole remediation

Will a sinkhole go away on its own?

No, a sinkhole will not go away on its own. The underlying source of the sinkhole must be repaired and filled in for the hole to disappear. While naturally occurring sinkholes are possible, most stem from a single source that can be pinpointed and resolved. Collapsed structures like abandoned root cellars, rusted septic tanks, abandoned basements, and improperly filled pools all produce sinkholes. Broken sewer, water, rain leader, and septic pipelines also create sinkholes.

Our expertise in excavation and pipe repair allows C.A. Taciak & Sons to successfully eliminate sinkholes and their sources for our clients.

Is it possible for a sinkhole to spread?

If left unresolved, a sinkhole can spread. As mentioned above, dealing with the cause of the sinkhole must happen before filling in the hole. Leaving the sinkhole untouched or improperly "fixed" can cause the hole to return or expand. Large sinkholes are exceptionally dangerous.

A collapsing sinkhole can cause damage to the structural integrity of your home or other property. Large sinkholes are often responsible for damage to foundations, patios, garages, pool houses, outbuildings, fences, decks, driveways, and cars. In addition to structural damage, falling into a sinkhole can cause bodily harm. The force of the displaced dirt can press in on your body and block your airways, causing suffocation. Falling into a sinkhole created by a damaged septic tank is the most dangerous. The gasses inside a septic system are highly toxic, and asphyxiation will occur if immersed in them.

To avoid unfortunate hazards, it is in your best interest to resolve your sinkhole problem as soon as possible.  Most sinkholes are not this serious, and these possibilities are not here to scare you.  We are merely trying to express how serious a sinkhole can be if left untreated.