water main break creates 'cave' under parking lot

Hi all - the main water line broke at the connector at my townhouse. It was discovered rather quickly and the water turned off within 2 hours. When the plumbers dug the hole to fix it, they discovered that there is a HUGE cave underneath the parking space right beside the water break. It's hard to tell just how large, but the entire shovel dissappeared into it. Just guessing, it looks like it's at least 5-6 deep, maybe even as wide and about a foot of depth.
Obviously the potential for a huge sinkhole is there and this needs to be fixed. What are the options for fixing this? The county and the home owners association (I don't own the parking space, they do) say I'm liable.
Thoughts? Ideas? How much does something like this cost to repair? Keep in mind, that I live outside of DC where everything is more expensive!!
Thank you
NAL
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repair leak, then truck/s loads of gravel compacted.
in many areas the water company is responsible to fix main line leaks, and colateral damage like sinkholes
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On 10/20/2010 8:26 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Their responsibility very likely ends at the property line...on the HOA property, it is likely the HOA's responsibility. Such was the case with our condo sewer line.
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wrote:

I agree, the hoa is trying to duck out. It's mostly their problem. Fixing it requires bringing in fill. The only way to prevent further settling is to tamp after adding some fill. Then repeat. How much fill you can add depends on what you can tamp with. If you can run machinery over it you can usually fill a lot between tamping. A foot or so. But if you are tamping with a portable gas tamper then I'd go about 6" at a time then run around it with the tamper.
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Rocky wrote:

...
Your description is confusing at best...first it's at _least_ 5-6 deep, then it's that wide and "about a foot of depth".
It's not possible for a small entrance line break to have _created_ a huge cavern in a couple of hours. However, it's not impossible there was an existing large cavern and you've created an opening into it that could be very difficult or nearly impossible to fill. Obviously, for fear of that if the dimensions are unknown everybody is going to want to run and leave you holding the bag.
I'd suggest first finding out what you really have and unless it is just a small washout, you probably want to contact a lawyer to find out what real liability status is 'cuz you could be looking at a major financial problem if you just accept blanket responsibility w/o knowing the full situation.
--
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On 10/20/2010 8:36 AM, dpb wrote:

Which side of the water meter is the leak on? Hopefully, their side. IANAL, but aren't they responsible for the meter and everything upstream?
Is the county the 'water company?' Surprised they are copping such an attitude so quickly- main breaks are a pretty routine event, and they should have a routine in place for soil and water flow testing to determine just how far from the break repairs and dirt work have to go. Talk to YOUR insurance agent post-haste, if you have not already done so. They have access to all sorts of lawyers and engineers, and may not agree blithely to your being liable. Do you mow the lawn, or does the HOA? If they do, it looks a whole lot like anything outside the walls is 'common area', but again, IANAL.
--
aem sends...

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Rocky wrote:

    Have you talked to your insurance company??
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On 10/20/2010 8:13 AM, Rocky wrote:

Read the HOA documents....they should address who is responsible for maintenance of the parking lot. If you don't own the parking space, it should be considered "common elements" or "limited common elements" or some such language. If the water main break is in the parking lot, it certainly seems that the HOA would be responsible for maintenance and repair.
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Its been leaking a long time slowly to have made a big hole. I think it would be cheap to have a load of sand dumped in, I dont know if gravel should surround the pipe. Just because all are denying responsibility doesnt mean they are correct. To just fill the hole so no person or animal falls in may only cost 1-200. It could be compacted and finished later.
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IMHO the county has nothing to do what what goes on between you and an HOA unless it's a county court gone to to settle some issue.
If you just decided to dig a big hole in the same place, who do you think the HOA would say owns the area?!
If I ever were to look for a place, when I went to the realtor I'd have them filter out anything with HOA. I don't even wanna see it or be tempted.
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Rocky wrote:

I'd be careful, there might be a bear in it.
Jon
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