Neighbors in Cobb County worried that large sinkholes will swallow up their homes

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Families in Cobb County are still dealing with the aftermath of last week’s storms. With more rain expected, they’re afraid sinkholes will get bigger and swallow up their homes.

“I looked over there, and I said, ‘Oh my God!’” said Marian Tiller Chancellor.

Chancellor lives on James Street in Marietta. The sinkhole opened last week when thunderstorms inundated parts of metro Atlanta and caused flash flooding.

“The sinkhole on James Street is on the homeowners’ private property. The pipe was not installed by the city, but was originally installed in the subdivision by a developer when it was located in unincorporated Cobb County in the 1960s,” said city spokesperson Lindsey Miles in a statement. “City staff is providing engineering assistance and checking to see if the homeowner is eligible for any federal or state funding relief. State law and local ordinances prohibits local governments from spending public funds to enhance or improve private property.”

“If a city resident discovers what they believe to be a sinkhole on their property, then they should contact the City’s Public Works Department who will then advise them on what to do as each situation is potentially different,” Wiles added.

News Drone 2 flew over the property. Video shows a damaged pipe.

There’s a similar situation on Old Orchard Drive in East Cobb.

Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose saw a sinkhole that formed in Rebecca Klein’s backyard following last week’s flash flooding.

Jose said he saw an exposed pipe that used to run underground and connects to a creek. Jose reported the pipe appears to be damaged.

“The purpose of this pipe was to divert a creek that runs through the neighborhood, so I’m hoping somebody steps up and takes ownership,” said Klein. “Right now, the (Cobb) county is stating it is not their responsibility because there was no record of this drainage pipe ever being filed with the county.”

Klein said the pipe runs under three properties.

Jose reached out to Cobb County.

A spokesman confirmed it’s not a platted or a dedicated pipe.

According to the water department, Cobb County only maintains dedicated structural infrastructure recorded on the final plat and formally accepted by the county for perpetual maintenance.

Klein told Jose she does not have flood insurance. She said her home wasn’t considered to be in a flood plain when she bought it last year.

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She had three feet of water in her basement and is faced with thousands of dollars in repairs. Klein will need to replace the hot water heater and her furnace, too.

The damage is so bad on Old Orchard Drive that a neighbor’s driveway is also destroyed. Cars cannot drive over it and remain stuck next to the home.

“I’m hoping we can get this resolved in a timely manner because I’m just so afraid the hole is just going to keep getting bigger, and we’re going to be put in a position where the house is not livable anymore,” said Klein. “Very frustrating, to say the least, especially to have the county come in and say we’re in a flood zone when this was never disclosed to us when we first bought the property.”