Spate of sinkhole incidents points to neglected infrastructure investment

Suddenly appearing caverns cause deaths, evacuations, interruption of utility services.

May 19, 2017 |

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

A recent spate of sinkholes due to failing infrastructure in the U.S. points to neglected maintenance.

From early December through April 2017, 39 significant sinkholes related to failing infrastructure struck across the country. One person was killed and four were injured in the incidents. In addition, extensive evacuations and disruption of utilities resulted.

In December, a football-field-sized hole suddenly swallowed parts of three houses and a section of road in a Detroit suburb. Typical causes of these collapses are crumbling water, drain, and sewer pipes. Cities beset by budget problems are at particular risk.

A recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers said that public spending is running far short of what's needed to replace water and wastewater systems. ASCE said the funding gap was estimated at $105 billion today, up from $55 billion in 2010.

Overlay Init