Metro-East homes at risk to sink holes due to abandoned mines

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by Craig Cheatham/ News 4 Investigates

KMOV.com

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 7:41 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Many residents in the St. Louis area are facing problems with sink holes, especially people in St. Clair and Madison Counties, caused by abandoned mines.

There are thousands of old abandoned mines in St. Clair and Madison Counties. Some have collapsed and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Geologist Bob Gibson said sinkholes are typically over areas with a lot of limestone, and that’s only found in smaller parts of the Metro-East. The most common underground threat is abandoned mines that run from Glenn Carbon to Fairview Heights, Belleville and other areas. The collapses are called subsidence.

“We tend to have two to three subsidences,” Gibson said, “in a given area per year.”

Gibson said subsidence can produce deep holes, or create wider areas of damage that aren’t as deep. He said every homeowner in an area with a history of mine collapses should buy subsidence insurance. It’s cheap and will protect you if your home is damaged.

The seller is supposed to tell you if the property was built above abandoned mine, but you can also put an address into an interactive map and see if the property is at risk. The interactive map can be found here

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