Drainage project ruins HCMC soil structure, sinks houses

By Dinh Van   September 29, 2023 | 11:00 pm PT
Drainage project ruins HCMC soil structure, sinks houses
Large cracks are seen on the walls in a house in HCMC's Thu Duc City, September 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
A team of robots digging a ditch in HCMC's Thu Duc City has weakened a neighborhood's soil structure so badly that some 15 homes are crumbling and sinking into the ground.

Nguyen Van Dung, 42, saw on Thursday that the cracks in the walls and the gates of his house, located on Street 18, had begun to spread. They were first discovered about a week prior.

Two cracks through the walls of his kitchen, each over 5 m in length, are expanding every day.

Dung's floors have also sunk into the soft soil, and the new catawampus angles of his home do not allow his doors to close properly.

About 10 meters from Dung’s house, the walls of Cong Thanh’s house are also cracking and the steps leading up to the house have sunk into the ground. From the outside, one can see that Thanh’s house is now tilted, the diagonal lines of the home reminding one of a Dr. Seuss illustration. There are gaps of 5-6 cm between the home and the structure next to it, which were once flush.

"We are worried that the structurally weak house could collapse at any moment," Thanh said.

Other houses on the same street are in similar situations.

The structures are all located near the construction site of a rainwater drainage system on Luong Dinh Cua Street in An Khanh Ward. The project, conducted by a consortium of the Hai Duong Rural Development and Dyke Stone Construction Company and the Ban Hin Electrical Technology and Construction company, began in September 2019.

Le Van Dien, head of the project’s management committee, blamed the robots used to dig the system, which is about 10 meters deep. He said the machines have caused "disruption underground."

Combined with the fact that the area used to be a swamp, he said, the foundation of the soil has become unstable and prone to sinking as a result. Several of the now-crumbling homes were also built "a long time ago" without foundations, which has contributed to the sinking, he added.

To resolve the issue, units have surveyed the houses and will monitor the situation until October 1, before planning solutions for individual cases.

A representative of the An Khanh Ward People’s Committee said for houses that are severely tilted, authorities have recommended families to temporarily relocate until the issue is resolved.

In August, a dyke construction site also caused houses belonging to over 50 families in District 8 to crack and sink due to tremors.

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