People in a northeast Georgia community are worried about the next time it rains because of sinkholes on their property.
On Mill Street, in the New Holland community of Gainesville, there is no such thing as a normal rainy day.
The water when it runs through is extremely dangerous. It’s enough to move a car,” Geoffrey Archibald, a homeowner, said.
At the moment, a cluster of yards in the area are covered with orange flags. Each flag represents underground traps…also known as sinkholes.
Archibald suggested, “We have no idea underneath the ground how much of it is solid.”
He has lived in Gainesville a long time. This house is his new home after he lost his last one in a fire. A lot of money was put in to repair it. but the storm water system underneath the reconstructed house is extremely old. The drain pipes underneath his house and others are made of terra-cotta pipes that are worn down. It’s the same substance used to make flower pots.
“The system was designed to probably last 10 to 20 years, and its been in the ground probably 60 yo 70 years,” Archibald said.
The result when it rains hard is serious damage to property.
Archibald recalls. there was a car completely totaled by the water. it was so deep it got into all the electronics and ruined all the computers.”
One of the sinkholes is six feet deep where a dog was trapped and had to be pulled out by several people.
And it’s not just the neighborhood pets they are worried about. “We can’t have our grandchildren come and play unless they’re supervised because there are sinkholes all over the place,” Archibald stated.
Hall County commissioners say that this is a problem that they want to fix, but there are two things that are getting in the way. Commissioner Craig Lutz says that the property is private, not public for the government to interfere with. He also says that the pipes were made in the 1930’s when modern infrastructure was not considered. He also stated that the county and the city of Gainesville do not know at this time who is entirely responsible for the damage.
In the meantime, people who live here say they are waiting on an answer.
Reporter: Kendall Lane