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Driving Me Crazy!: Storm drainage pipes cause sinkhole in Lizella man's front yard

Mark Brown said he first noticed a gaping hole next to the storm drain in his front yard last month

LIZELLA, Ga. — Driving along the newly paved Waterwheel Court, you'll see a white house at the end of the street where Mark Brown lives. He's got quite a problem in his front yard.

"This four-foot deep, six-foot wide sinkhole in my yard is driving me crazy," he said.

Brown first noticed it about a month ago. He says local and state agencies have been by to survey it.

"They drew their lines, they put their ink down. I thought, 'Okay, who's going to handle this?' because no one knocked on my door and said, 'Hi, I'm checking this out for you,'" he said.

The Bibb County Engineering Department deferred to the Macon Water Authority for answers. Storm Water Manager Marvin Land explains what they found after their investigation.

"Once we came out and we measured off the right of way distance from the center of the road out, the cave-in is off the right of way on private property," said Land. "Sometime in the past, either a developer or prior property owner, piped in an open ditch that ran down through the woods and over time, the pipe failed and is creating cave-ins and this is what happens with corrugated metal pipe."

The Macon Water Authority's right of way ends at about 27 feet from the center of the road. The hole measures a few feet beyond that. 

Land is advising Brown to get in touch with a general contractor.

"Dig where the cave-in is at, make a point repair at this point, just to seal up where the pipe is voided at now, and just keep an eye on it and maintain it as it comes," said Lane. "With it being a private issue, there's nothing that we can do to assist him unfortunately."

"Because the hole is on this side of the storm drain, it's my responsibility, but had the hole been on that side, they would've taken care of it. It's pretty obvious the storm drain is the issue, but their rules are their rules and it's a matter of inches I guess, and I have to find out what I can do next," said Brown.

It's exactly the answer he was hoping for, but Brown says he's not giving up hope yet. He'll continue to seek advice from contractors and other agencies until he's exhausted all his options.


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