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corporate dominance | environment | sustainability

Woe! Lake begone!

23-acre man-made lake disappears in St. Louis suburb. Lake Chesterfield went down a sinkhole this week, leaving homeowners in this affluent St. Louis suburb wondering if their property values disappeared along with their lakeside views.
Updated: 4:42 p.m. ET June 11, 2004

WILDWOOD, Mo. - To folks around Wildwood, it is nothing but freaky: an entire 23-acre lake vanished in a matter of days, as if someone pulled the plug on a bathtub.

Lake Chesterfield went down a sinkhole this week, leaving homeowners in this affluent St. Louis suburb wondering if their property values disappeared along with their lakeside views.

"It's real creepy," said Donna Ripp, who lives near what had been Lake Chesterfield. "That lake was 23 acres no small lake. And to wake up one morning, drive by and it's gone?"

What once was an oasis for waterfowl and sailboats was nothing but a muddy, cracked pit outlined by rotting fish.

The sight had 74-year-old George English scratching his head.

"It's disheartening, getting out on your deck and seeing this," he said as he stood next to wife, Betty, and the "lakeside" condominium they bought in 1996 for its view. "One day it's a beautiful lake, and now, bingo, it's gone."

Some residents said they noticed that the lake, after being swelled by torrential rains weeks earlier, began falling last weekend. The Englishes said they noticed the drop-off Monday.

By Wednesday, the manmade lake normally seven to 10 feet deep in spots had been reduced to a mucky, stinky mess.

David Taylor, a geologist who inspected the lakebed Wednesday, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the sinkhole was formed when water eroded the limestone deep underground and created pockets in the rock. The sinkhole was "like a ticking time bomb."

The lake and surrounding housing development date to the late 1980s. The development now includes more than 670 condominiums and houses, about one-tenth of them bordering the lake.

Because the lake is private property, the subdivision's residents will have to cover the cost of fixing it, probably through special property assessments. George English expects it to cost $1,000 a household.

It is a price English said he is willing to pay. He just wants the unsightly pit gone, either by refilling it with water or dumping enormous amounts of dirt into it to create green space or usable land.

"I think it'll come back again," he said. "You have to hope they can fix it."
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Who owns the water? 12.Jun.2004 18:31

Mother Nature

Don't Fuck with me!

Your lakes are not your lakes,
I only let you use them.

Your air is not your air,
foul it at your own risk.

You think your hairy thunderer has dominion over me?
Would you like to try it and see?

The chemical, physical, metaphysical balance is mine to secure,
all you can ever do is tip the scales!

But be gentle with me and I'll love you in return

Wildwood is a good example of controlling sprawl 13.Jun.2004 09:47

Troglodyte

Wildwood, MO was incorporated in the 1990s to control sprawl (the lake community with hundreds of condos already existed). Most of the people living there are probably rich racist scum who inherited their fortune from slaveholding ancestors, and the reason most of them support the anti-sprawl rules is for their property values, but the rules are good for the environment. Most far suburbs of STL are a sprawl nightmare, with forests clearcut to build hundreds of "McMansion" cul-de-sac homes in areas unsuitable for building homes.

It was a bad idea to build the subdivision lake. Building any dam in a karst environment is foolish. A much larger reservoir in MO, Clearwater Lake, has a large sinkhole near the dam. Plans to elevate the lake level have been at least postponed because of the sinkhole. Another lake in MO continually leaked because of cracks in the New Madrid fault line. Any dammed stream or river anywhere near a cavern or fault line should have the dams removed to prevent a cave leak or quake disaster.

Sprawl? Whatever... 14.Jun.2004 10:13

Spawler

Must be nice to know everything. Its easy to sit behind the wheel of your trailer home and condemn people who are more fortunate than you. We build further out to get away from shit like you. We enjoy the nicer things in life, so your kids can steal them. So keep dreamin and think of us as the next tornado sucks your ass up. There's what I think of your sprawl theory!!