ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — An Anderson County man received a big surprise last month when a sinkhole opened up his front yard.

It’s no ordinary sinkhole, this one is at least 45 feet deep and it’s in line with two previous sinkholes on the property.

“When I walked through the yard, I saw this black spot and I walked over there and seen this big hole in the ground.”

Steve Disney

The sinkhole in Steve Disney’s yard is about 25 feet away from his home. Disney says he can hear water running below when it’s quiet.

There’s also a hollow behind his home where a third sinkhole lives. At the bottom of the hollow, is a rock cave and within that cave, is a fast-running stream which he believes is the rushing water he heard at the new sinkhole.

“There’s another sinkhole right behind this concrete building when I was a kid it was just real shallow now It’s now probably 15 to 20 foot deep.”

Steve Disney

Sinkholes are most common in what geologists call “karst terrain” and in our area of East Tennessee include porous limestone. Karst landscapes feature caves, underground streams, and sinkholes on the surface. Sinkholes are cavities in the ground and when the porous roof of the land surface collapses into the cavities, it creates a hole on the surface.

Below Disney’s property is the surface soil that was swept away when the sinkhole collapsed last month.

For him, there are unanswered questions, what does he do with the sinkhole? And could another one collapse closer to his home?

“Until I find out what is going on down there, yes, I’m going to block it off to keep anybody out of it.”

Steve Disney

Disney’s home is not on TVA property, but the utility sent two engineers to take a look at the sinkhole. Their advice was he should consult with a contract engineer.

Warning signs of a sinkhole

  • Fresh cracks in the foundations of a house or building, or cracks along interior
  • Other signs are cracks or depressions in the ground outside, tilted trees or fence posts
  • As well as doors or windows that become difficult to open or close

It’s best to consult with an engineer.