The digging that comes with construction is a sign of prosperity in Tennessee, but it's also uncovering one of the state's sore spots. Geologists say Tennessee is one of the holiest states there is, and we're not talking religion, rather sinkholes.
It's a problem that has slowly sunk down in the yard of a Columbia family.
"I don't push the mower in the hole," homeowner Randy McCall said.
From afar, it doesn't look like much. But looks can be deceiving.
"It's about four feet across and eight feet wide," McCall said.
In 2010, during the floods, a massive sinkhole appeared in yard of McCall's neighbor. After crews fixed it, the McCalls started to notice something suspicious in their yard. As it has grown, they asked more questions. To help get answers, they asked someone from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to take a look.
"Her probe went down. It didn't hit anything," McCall said. "The probe was like 4', 48" and she stuck it all the way down and almost fell. It almost fell. My wife had to hold her because the probe just sank straight down."
The McCalls also hired a geologist. Another showed up at the request of their insurance company. All found the same thing, a sinkhole.
"We don't' know how big it is, how far it runs, and we're very concerned about it," McCall said.
Middle Tennessee State University retired professor Albert Ogden has studied sinkholes for more than two decades. Ogden said he often sees them in newer subdivisions.
"[They are] where sinkholes were covered up and sort of hidden. I don't want to say it's was necessarily done maliciously, because sometimes they are so shallow the average person wouldn't recognize it was a sinkhole before they leveled it out," Ogden said.
We don't know if that's what's going at the McCalls home in The Landings development. But the McCalls said they still want answers.
"We're not asking them to fix it," McCall said. "We just want to see how big it is, how far it goes and what the next steps are."
McCall said he's made several calls to the builder, Shaw Enterprises, but heard nothing. At the time of broadcast, Channel 4 had not heard back from Shaw Enterprises.
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