The state real estate commissioner has opened an investigation into fissures near homes in the south East Valley.
Commissioner Elaine Richardson announced the investigation Wednesday.
Monsoon rains earlier this month reopened land cracks in the Queen Creek and San Tan areas — some resembling small canyons edging up to residents’ yards.
The Department of Real Estate had not received any formal complaints regarding the fissures as of Wednesday, said department spokeswoman Mary Utley. But it has received e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the fissures.
"The commissioner on her own authority can open an investigation when it’s such a grievous situation as this," Utley said.
The department requires developers to disclose any geological or environmental hazards in subdivision report applications, but does not require geological studies.
The existence of fissures in the south East Valley has been known for years, but some new residents say they weren’t informed. Caused by decades of groundwater pumping, many of the cracks were filled with dirt and debris as neighborhoods grew around them. There are few regulations on developing the land around known fissures, but real estate agents are required to disclose conditions on existing property that could pose health hazards.
Fissures can be filled in again, geologists say, but the running water that caused the cave-ins needs to be diverted to fissure-free areas.
In the meantime, residents in some areas worry about the ground they live on. Department representatives and other officials will meet with some of them tonight.
What: Department of Real Estate representatives and other officials will meet with residents whose homes are near fissures in the south East Valley
Where: Queen Creek Community Center, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road
When: 7 p.m. today