Backyard sinkhole.

Asked by Julie, Fri Jan 9, 2009

Sellers have a washing machine set up outside that drains water into the ground. A sinkhole has been created. Inspection is today. Am I buying a "nightmare"? Or is it something simple to fix? Any comments /suggestions PLEASE?

Thanks Julie

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Julie, Home Buyer,
Sat Jan 10, 2009
Turns out there are a lot of things going on. The Inspector suggested getting a septic expert to look at the sinkhole. Need a plumber, electrician and a couple of other things fixed. Good thing is, no damage to the structure. I still want the house but I'm really concerned about all the quotes I received for repairs.
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Julie, Home Buyer,
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Scott, they intentionally have the washer draining into the ground. Don't know why, hopefully we'll find out with the Inspector today.

Jeff, I assume it's city water. I'll find that out today too.

Thanks for your answers. I'll keep you posted.

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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Fri Jan 9, 2009
It depends whether the soil has simply washed away from continued draining or if it is an actual sink hole. you will want to have a soil expert check, they may need a test bit or soil boring to know for sure. Your home inspector can at least tell you if it is a genuine sink hole, if so it may be an avoid at any cost situation as opposed to a simple wash out that can be filled. good luck with your inspection, either way have them fix it before you close if you choose to go forward. i hope things work out.
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Jeff, , Virginia Beach, VA
Fri Jan 9, 2009
I think we need a little more information on this situation.

1. Is the house on city sewer or septic system?

2. Does the house have city water or a well?

3. What do you mean by sinkhole?

4. Why is a washer outside and not connected to a drain?

The type of soils in you area don't actually create sinkholes, but there is obviously something going on to create a depression. Has the septic system top collapsed? Is there some type of underground tank that is collapsing? Does an underground drainage pipe have a crack that is allowing soil/sand to infiltrate and be carried downstream, creating a depression?

I would be most concerned if the house uses a well for water. It is possible the well could be impacted by the discharge from the washer, creating a major problem.
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