An odd discovery made by a south Edmonton homeowner on his property, has him warning other homeowners about what dangerous surprises could turn up in their own backyards that they may be liable for.
“What we found last Sunday… that was a surprise,” Skyrattler resident Brian Day said Friday.
Alberta’s capital has seen more rainfall this summer than it normally does and as a result, and that’s why Day didn’t think too much of it at first when he recently noticed a small depression had formed on his lawn in south Edmonton.
Nevertheless, he said its depth had him concerned it could pose a tripping hazard so he planned to dig out the sod and refill it. But when he peered underneath the sod, it wasn’t dirt he saw.
“I saw dark… real dark, dark.”
The depression first began to appear about four weeks ago and at first, he said he was troubled by the thought he may have a 15-metre deep sinkhole in his backyard. It then occurred to him it may be an abandoned water well.
The discovery was quite a surprise for Day as the home was built in 1978 and he has lived there since 1991.
“For 25 years, any one of us could have fallen through the hole,” he said as he mentioned family, friends, children and pets have unwittingly flirted with danger by walking across the patch of grass. “I actually stepped on it a couple of times just to test it out.”
Day called the city but said he was told that under provincial legislation, he would be responsible for filling it as the well was on his property.
That’s when he called Big Iron Drilling and got in touch with Ray Field.
“Ray actually described the well to me before I described it to him,” he said.
Day said it turns out the water well was drilled in 1928. While the province has a website showing where old wells are located, the map incorrectly suggests the well that was actually in Day’s yard was located northwest of his property.
According to the province, the accuracy of its well information relies on past recordkeeping.
While the developer should have been responsible for filling the hole, Day says he will assume the cost and is just grateful nobody was hurt over the years.
“Literally, what was only holding us up was 35 years or 38 years of grass roots that were intertwined in the centre of that hole.”
Day says he plans to fill the hole with a powder product called Fillcrete and to soon have peace of mind knowing he has a safe and level lawn. But he wants other Edmontonians to be aware of his experience so nobody gets hurt.
“You need to investigate them faster than I did,” he said.
-With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News