Who pays for $100,000 sinkhole in Md. couple's backyard?

They might be getting stuck with a $100-thousand-dollar bill to fix the sinkholes.

CHARLES CO, MD (WUSA9) - A Charles County couple woke up to find not one, but two sinkholes in their backyard.

Now they might be getting stuck with a $100,000 bill to fix the sinkholes, even though they formed after a drainpipe that serves their neighborhood busted.

Coral and Gary Showalter have lived in their house in Waldorf since 1998. They have a beautiful backyard, complete with in-ground swimming pool. But just feet away, two sinkholes formed within the last month. It's all because a pipe that goes underneath their backyard busted. Coral says the drainage pipe serves their neighborhood and even nearby Route 228. 

"We first saw the sinkhole on the morning of Saturday, July 29th. On the 11th, we had more rain that Friday night, it really came through here like a gully washer," Carol said. "It is now eroding underneath the support for our pool. So, we're at risk of losing the pool. The Showalters need to act quickly. Rain is predicted later this week. The problem is, it's not a cheap or easy fix, says Coral, "Well, the lowest estimate we've received was $86,000, the highest estimate was $120,000. A little more money than we have in the bank." 

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She says time is ticking. It's been two weeks.

"We really are in a crisis mode, and we're just looking for some help because we're not getting it from the county and we're not getting it from the homeowners association," she said. 

WUSA9 called the Greenmont Homeowners Association. Dave McDonell is the association's treasurer. He says he read the county's Storm Drainage Ordinance.

"It didn't sound to me I was responsible for all the ones that were under the street and people's backyards," he said.

When asked if this is a gray area, Dave replied, "Absolutely."

WUSA9 called the County. They say that pipe is not part of the storm water infrastructure they maintain and it's a private matter between the Showalters, the developer and/or the homeowner's association. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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