Lake-home owners losing their cabins to the sinking soilValley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Some lake-home owners on Lake Ashtabula are seeing the land disappear right from under their cabins. The sinking soil is happening so fast, they're worried some of the buildings could go at anytime.
Wet weather is causing these cabins to creep closer and closer to the lake.
"7 inches, 3 inches, and four inches on another event; it has just re-lubricated the sub soil and its been destabilizing and faulting and going down."
Kevin Benson owns one of the 7 cabins where the land is severely shifting and sinking. He says there are areas that have dropped 12 to 14 feet in the last couple of years.
"On the surface we see fault lines. One high and one low and the soil appear to drop straight down, but it's coming out farther down toward the lake."
To make things worse, insurance doesn't cover land moving and the owners found out today, if they do qualify for federal funding, it won't come for 2 years at best.
"We don't have two years."
When Benson first bought the cabin, it was sitting right here, but when this spot started sinking about 3 years ago, he moved it back about 20 yards, but he said that only bought him time because that section is now sinking to.
"I guess we're coming to the conclusion that we'll probably just sell it off for somebody else to try on another location."
Benson says selling the structure will at least help eat some of the cost because finding takers for the lot will be near impossible. Other homes in that area have had underground piping break, from the land shifting.
To help weigh different options for homeowners, the Barnes County Commission held an emergency meeting. On hand were Representatives from the Department of Emergency Services to discuss possible help from the federal government.
In the best situation, the homes would be bought out in 2 years. Homeowners suggested the zoning commission study the land before authorizing building permits.
“For subdivisions and lots anywhere in our region, perhaps we do need to have geological studies provided to planning and zoning before they could go forward.”
Even with federal help, homeowners would be stuck with 25 percent of the total bill.