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Published January 07, 2013, 09:15 AM

As dry soils shrink, southern Minnesota homes sink

WASECA, Minn. (AP) — As the drought deepens, homeowners across southern Minnesota are reporting shifting foundations and cracks in basements and walls.

WASECA, Minn. (AP) — As the drought deepens, homeowners across southern Minnesota are reporting shifting foundations and cracks in basements and walls.

The dry conditions effectively have been locked into the frozen soil. And as dry soils shrink, homes sink. Insurance typically doesn't cover the damage.

Among those affected are Shannon and Jon Cliff, whose home in Waseca has been damaged by the shifting ground. It sits on soil that's rich in peat moss and clay. As the clay and moss shrank, a 4-inch gap formed between the foundation and the ground.

There are no estimates about how many homes have sunk, but Nate Proper of American Waterworks in Oronoco, tells Minnesota Public Radio his company alone has done 80 basement repairs across the region. That's five times more than usual.

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