Residents fear water contamination following sinkhole

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, July 16, 2017, 7:08 PM EDT

The 225-foot sinkhole in Land O' Lakes is no longer growing. But for so many families who have homes caught behind the caution tape, there's still a long way to go.

Starting at 8 a.m. Monday, the county will conduct water testing at the nine homes that were under the evacuation notice, as well as a random sampling of other homes in the neighborhood.

The sinkhole swallowed two homes Friday and caused evacuations at nine more. On Saturday evening, the county allowed four families back onto their property, leaving five homes left in the evacuation notice.

Anabel Pardon and her family returned to their home Sunday. It was one of two that were destroyed.

"We could take the ashes from our grandparents, but we lost the pictures from years ago. Maybe we can save something from my mom's bedroom," Pardon said.

Though the water level in the sinkhole is slowly going down, it was deemed a hazmat situation due to the chemicals inside. That put many neighbors on edge, many worried about their drinking water.

The area is on well water, so county officials don't expect to see any sign of contaminants in the water.

They agreed to the testing to calm many fears and bring some peace of mind to the area.

"You just never know what's going on underground," said Jennifer Margo, who lives adjacent to the sinkhole.

Additional residents wishing to have their water tested for E. coli ($7 fee) or other possible contaminants (additional fees apply) may do so through the Pasco County Environmental Lab.  

The county says it could take months to repair the sinkhole.

There's no word on when the families living in the five remaining homes will be allowed back inside.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is asking homeowners in the area to wait a few more days before doing any repairs to their homes.