Sinkhole threatens homes in SE Houston

January 23, 2008 8:52:53 PM PST
They've been dealing with flooding for months. Now people who live in one southeast Houston neighborhood have another problem that may be threatening their homes. They live in the Riverside Terrace subdivision on Roseneath near Cullen.

If the constant pumping wasn't bad enough, then the 25 foot crater certainly was. "I don't want to see my kitchen inside of the hole," said resident Nadine Mouton.

Mouton owns the house right next door to the sink hole. In the last 24 hours, she says the sinkhole has inched towards her house. It's already consumed part of the fence, but even worse, it also took two trees she held close to her heart.

"It took two mature citrus trees that were planted by my father on my parents' wedding anniversary probably eight years ago," she told us. "Those are especially sentimental because my mom passed away."

City crews dug the hole to repair a storm water drain which over the months has caused entire sections of the street to flood. However recent rains saturated the hole causing to it get bigger.

"We don't know how much it's absorbing and it's apparently taking dirt with it," said Wes Johnson of Houston Public Works.

Crews have since halted the repairs until the rain subsides. With the pressure to fix the drains, city officials admit it's a difficult balance.

"It's almost like a decision we make at some point to work on the kitchens while we still are living there," Johnson explained. "You think is the right thing to do? Yes it is."

Mouton whose family has owned the house since the 1960s appreciates the work but just wonders if more planning could have helped.

The digging has stopped but work will continue once the ground dries up a little bit. It could take months before repairs are done.

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