Chandler family says city pond led to sinkhole

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Members of a Chandler family found a nasty surprise in their basement Monday morning: a muddy mess.

"It looks like somebody took a chocolate shake-like pump and just destroyed the basement," said Ashley Galvanoni.

Outside their home, the earth was giving way, and the ground was opening up forming a sinkhole alongside their basement home.

"The fact that we had a basement home, the cement structure from underneath is holding the home together and we are actually structurally sound in that sense," she said.

Their home is located in a subdivision off of Chandler Heights Road and Cooper Road. Their side yard is right next to a city of Chandler evaporation pond.

The homeowners believe the pond is to blame for the mess.

"The runoff from it that flooded, created holes within the dirt clay that was not compact and actually ran underground into our basement which is completely flooded," said Galvanoni.

They awoke to the mess around 6 a.m. Monday. At that point there was nothing they could do.

The water, though,  was not coming from above their home."It literally was coming up like this and filling each entire well," she said. It was coming from the ground surrounding her home.

Galvanoni told 3TV she fears the pond is undermining her house and that it has likely been going on for awhile.

"It's very bizarre and my gut feeling is that it wasn't the rain that started it. My gut feeling is that this was eroding over time, and because this was so fast and fierce, this rain, that it just finished the job and broke through," said Galvanoni.

The homeowners have reached out to the city of Chandler and started the process of filing a claim with the risk management department. Now they're just waiting to hear back and see where they go from here.