LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) - The families impacted by a massive sinkhole in Pasco County finally received some relatively good news Monday: the water supply appears to be unaffected.
Experts haven't released the test results yet, but "there is no evidence at this point that any wells are contaminated," according to Pasco County. Samples from 20 homes, including the closest ones to the hole, were collected. Results are expected to be released today.
It became a concern in the days after the massive sinkhole, measuring more than 200 feet wide and 50 feet deep, swallowed most of two homes in the Lake Padgett community of Land O' Lakes. Boats, a car, and septic tanks were among the other items that collapsed into the ground.
In a news release late Monday afternoon, officials wrote, "There is no evidence at this point that any wells are contaminated. Citizens can drink bottled water if they feel concerned. The county is working with Florida Department of Health to determine if any additional testing needs to be done."
The focus is now shifting to what's next: crews will have to determine how to fill the sinkhole and whether that will include draining it.
In the meantime, homeowners living around it aren't sure they want to return to their homes even if they can.
"I don't think I'll ever be comfortable living there again... it's just too close," said Emily Geldbaugh, who lives next door to the two homes that were destroyed, calling the ordeal "mind-boggling."
Geldbaugh's family members, along with several Pasco deputies, helped her collect some belongings from her home, including a bed and some valuables.
"Pictures, business papers, memorabilia from the past," she said, describing the things she wants to retrieve.
County officials don't have a set time frame on how long it could take before engineers determine the best way to fill the hole.
Meawhile, a fund to assist victims of the sinkhole was launched on Monday morning.
Pasco County and United Way of Pasco County partnered to create it. United Way will match donations.
The massive sinkhole opened up on Friday morning swallowing two homes and endangering five homes. Residents in the latter homes were evacuated as a precaution.
“We don’t know exactly where that safe edge is,” said Kevin Gurthrie, assistant county administrator for public safety. “We are going to do everything within our power to get those folks back in as soon as they can. We are going to be with you every step of the way.”
You can donate in the following ways:
- Text the word “SINKHOLE” to 41444
- Donate online at unitedwaypasco.org
- Mail gift to: United Way of Pasco County - 17230 Camelot Court Land O'Lakes, FL 34638
For more information on the Pasco County Environmental Lab, click here.
The Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have information for consumers concerned about the quality of their well water here.