Infiltration/Exfiltration of drainage pipes cause major street damage

A large sinkhole has recently appeared on a street in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD.

“It [was] confirmed the issue was caused by a crack in a barrel drain running along the street.”

Ordinarily, “a crack” in a pipe by itself is not enough to cause a sinkhole.

But degradation over time can lead to compounding of pipe defects such as tree roots growing through the cracks, corrosion of any pipe reinforcement, and infiltration/exfiltration (water getting in/out of the pipe).

The biggest culprit here is likely infiltration/exfiltration.

Infiltration/exfiltration can cause the bedding material supporting both the pipe and the road surface to slowly loosen and wash away, which is how a lot of sinkholes develop unnoticed.

See more here.

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