Video: Sugar House man notices sinkhole of “unknown depth” in front yard, at a loss for solutions

May 25, 2023, 9:30 PM

After finding a "depression" in his front lawn, a Sugar House local believes his house may be on a ...

After finding a "depression" in his front lawn, a Sugar House local believes his house may be on a massive sinkhole of an "unknown depth." (Jessica Lowell/KSL NewsRadio)

(Jessica Lowell/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — When Sugar House local Chad Berghoff’s basement flooded he thought maybe a “depression” in his front lawn was to blame. Little did he know his house could be on top of a large sinkhole of an unknown depth.

Berghoff says earlier this week he was walking through his basement living room when he noticed his socks were saturated with water.

“We took all the furniture out of my house [and] tried to identify where the water was coming from,” he tells KSL NewsRadio.

This led Berghoff and his father to find a “small depression” in his lawn that he hadn’t noticed before.

“We started poking it with a shovel and we noticed the surrounding area started moving with it, which really scared us,” Berghoff says. “We started trying to dig out the area with a shovel … The first or second shovel dig we made at it, we uncovered the hole.”

Video: Jessica Lowell/KSL NewsRadio

Sinkhole of an “unknown depth”

Berghoff says, at this point, they could not see the bottom of the hole.

“It just looked like a hole into Hell, it was terrible,” he tells KSL NewsRadio’s Jessica Lowell.

After opening the hole more, Berghoff says they noticed it was 10 to 15 feet deep. Following this, Berghoff called a plumber for some help.

“He took a measuring probe, which was about 12 feet long, and he placed it in the bottom of the deepest part of the hole,” Berghoff says. “And the probe slid all the way down to the bottom.” 

From this, Berghoff believes the hole to be 20 to 25 feet deep but could be deeper.

Not only does this hole pose a danger to Berghoff and his family, but it also interferes with the business they run out of their home. 

“We run an Airbnb in the top unit of this house,” he says. “So we didn’t want any guest to get hurt.”

No obvious solutions so far

According to Berghoff, no one is certain of the cause of the hole, nor how deep it is.

“The best guess was a natural spring that could be taking material and flowing it in the downwards direction,” he says.

Berghoff says he has contacted multiple agencies including the city who sent an emergency engineer to check out the scene.

“They were nervous because they expected water to be accumulated here so they could test for different mineral build-up to see if it’s groundwater,” he says. “But, they’re really scared because the water has gone away, it’s now dry … They’re thinking there could be a giant vacancy underneath.”

Beyond this, Berghoff says, a plumber recommended filling the hole in. However, he says if the hole were to be filled it could cause the lawn around it to collapse even more.

“The reason I called the news was because nobody had answers,” he says. “We’re just looking for answers at this point.”

Jessica Lowell contributed to this story.

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Video: Sugar House man notices sinkhole of “unknown depth” in front yard, at a loss for solutions