A Chula Vista family was surprised to discover a large sinkhole open up in their own backyard Sunday.
Resident David Garcia said he didn’t notice the hole at his home near the intersection of Oxford Street and Fifth Avenue at first because it was covered by artificial turf.
“I was eating breakfast, and I saw from my window that the turf was high up,” Garcia told NBC 7. “When I came outside and peaked to see how it was, I saw this big, massive sinkhole, and I was like, 'This is not normal.’”
The sinkhole was about 5 feet wide and 4 feet deep, uncovering a pipe.
An old, retired septic tank caused the sinkhole, according to inspectors with the city. The tank had not been used in at least 25 years, when Garcia’s family moved there.
Years of rainwater through the old pipe, in addition to recent heavy storms, finally gave way to the Chula Vista backyard.
“And it’s crazy because there’s roots all around and there’s been water in there, too, that stayed there for a pretty long time,” Garcia said.
The city said repairs were Garcia’s responsibility because the sinkhole was on private property.
Garcia said the cost to fill the hole would be about $200. He instead had dirt delivered to his home Monday afternoon to begin filling the hole himself.
"I was really shocked, honestly. I was like, 'Well, the hole is there. I'll make a Jacuzzi,'” said Garcia.
Inspectors with the City of Chula Vista and the Sweetwater Authority had responded to the South Bay sinkhole.