Sinkholes in the News

By the early 1930s, ground-water pumping along the west coast of Florida had lowered hydraulic heads in the fresh-water aquifers and caused upconing of saline water. Coastal municipalities began to abandon coastal ground-water
sources and develop inland sources.

The city of St. Petersburg began pumping ground water from well fields in a rural area north of Tampa. By 1978, four well fields had been established in parts of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties, and were pumping an average of 69,900 acre-feet per year. Sinkholes occurred in conjunction with the development of each of the well fields: Cosme (1930), Eldridge-Wilde (1954), Section 21 (1963), and South Pasco (1973).

The effects of pumping on sinkhole development near the Section 21 well field illustrate the general relation between aggressive pumping, ground-water declines, and sinkhole development.

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