Complete coverage of Texas' record heat wave of 2011

Your Yard Needs a Drink

By Randy McIlwain
|  Thursday, Aug 4, 2011  |  Updated 10:45 AM CDT
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Hot and dry conditions are taking their toll on sidewalks and foundations.

Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com

Hot and dry conditions are taking their toll on sidewalks and foundations.

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Sinkholes are becoming a major problem as the soil dries up in this summer's heat wave.

Street crews in McKinney have repaired dozens of buckled sidewalks. They're also finding exposed sewer line cleanout pipes, some 7 inches above the ground.

"It's the result of dry soil," said Paul Sparkman, McKinney streets superintendent. "We probably fixed already over 200 since October and, depending on the weather, we may have a couple of hundred more to fix."

McKinney homeowner Tricia Miller's lawn is a perfect shade of green, a result of regular watering. It has kept her sidewalks intact and has likely saved her home's foundation. Her neighbors on both sides are experiencing sinkholes.

"I really did not know that," she said. "I thought I was just keeping the grass green."

Many cities are under water conservation plans that allow homeowners to water lawns at least twice per week or water by hand with a hose.

McKinney is encouraging its residents to continue watering because homes with greener lawns are experiencing fewer problems.

"Most cases where it is adequately moisturized, you just don't see the problem," Sparkman said.

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