Sinkholes and Sun City Center:
Should we be concerned?


The question has been raised as to whether residents in our community need sinkhole insurance coverage.

The Florida Geological Survey has prepared a fact-filled poster on the state's sinkholes. A portion of that poster is a map of the state's geological zones. Note that Sun City Center is within the pink zone for which it is annotated that "Sinkholes are uncommon". If we were located 20 or 30 miles to the north, we would be over an ancient river bed that runs under Brandon and north Tampa where many sinkholes do form.

Geological zones in Florida

In 2008, the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) created sinkhole maps for every county in Florida, including a sinkhole map for Hillsborough County, using data gathered by the Florida Geological Survey (FGS) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). In the following description, which accompanies each map, the word "karst" is used. Karst is an area of limestone terrain characterized by sinks, ravines, and underground streams. The limestone is from the skeletons of marine creatures and coral that were deposited on the seabed when Florida was still underwater.

Also note in the following description that the map includes both natural and man-made sinkholes such as "collapsed septic systems and water mains".

"This dataset represents a set of points for reported sinkhole events. The data herein represents reported sinkhole activity but may also contain non-karst related subsidence such as collapsed septic systems, water mains, and/or other man-made features. This information contained in this dataset is primarily used to more fully understand the unique relationship between karst and the state's groundwater resources and aquifer systems."

The two events in Sun City Center have been noted with red lines. After considerable longitude & latitude research of the original data, the upper "sinkhole" appears to be a 2002 sewer cave-in at the intersection of North Pebble Beach Blvd and Allegheny Dr where three sewer lines come together. The lower "sinkhole" seems to be a 1990 sewer cave-in near the mid-point of Plumbrook Rd which has a sewer line under it.

Sinkholes in Hillsborough County

The two maps show that our community is not prone to sinkholes.

For my home, based on the available information, buying sinkhole insurance seems a bit like throwing money down a hole. For your home, of course, the final decision is up to you.


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