A sinkhole in Hillary Hutchinson's West Ashley yard grows with each call she makes to a bureaucrat begging for help.
Charleston city and county officials told her AT&T likely was at fault, Hutchinson said, because company workers probably cut away a section of an underground stormwater pipe to make way for a cable they laid perpendicular to it.
Now, stormwater that is supposed to run from her cul-de-sac, through the pipe and out to a marsh behind her house pools underground in her yard, causing it to cave in.
Hutchinson learned of the hole in August, when the wheel of her gardener's riding lawn mower sank into the soggy ground. She's been trying since then to get the problem fixed.
The hole now is about 5 feet deep and 3 to 4 feet in diameter, and it continues to grow.
"It's enormously frustrating," she said. "Every time you talk to a different person, they either never heard of it, or they heard of it and they say they will do something. But they don't."
Tim O'Brien, the city of Charleston's director of public service, said after a call from The Post and Courier on Tuesday that representatives from AT&T told one of his inspectors the problem was to be fixed. The inspector called AT&T on Tuesday and was assured someone would be at Hutchinson's house today to fix it, O'Brien said. He also said he would follow up to make sure it gets done.
AT&T spokesman Josh Gelinas said someone would go to Hutchinson's house this morning to evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.
Hutchinson and next-door neighbor Jim Hare also contacted the city and Charleston County for help. Although they live next to each other, Hutchinson's house is in the city, and Hare's is in the county.
Hare said he's concerned about the problem. Dirt and debris in the sinkhole keep stormwater from flowing out of the cul-de-sac, he said. When the cul-de-sac floods, water flows into his garage. So he's been reaching into the sinkhole and pulling out as much debris as possible.
County workers previously went to look at the hole, Hutchinson said. They put a piece of plywood over it.
City workers went to look. They placed two bright orange cones on the plywood.
Jim Neal, Charleston County's director of public works, said he can't find a complaint in his system. But he's also going to send someone today to look at the sinkhole.