Grave problem: Heavy rains cause 100 plots to sink at Fort Bliss National Cemetery

FORT BLISS, Texas — Heavy rains in western Texas are not only affecting the living. This year’s inclement weather caused nearly 100 plots at Fort Bliss National Cemetery to sink into the ground, creating gaping holes.

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However, sunken graves are not unusual at the cemetery, according to facility director Francisco Gonzalez.

The gravesites that sink the most are the older, more traditional plots that do not have a built-in vault, Gonzalez told KTSM-TV.

“Where there is just the casket or the remains in there and there’s no vault or container in there, so those sites are a little more prone to that,” Gonzalez told the television station.

The cemetery faced a similar problem during last year’s rainy season, according to KENS-TV.

In 2006 there were around 2,000 to 3,000 thousand sunken graves, KTSM reported. Last year there were around 800.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Fort Bliss was one of seven national cemeteries created between 1934 and 1939 to increase the capacity of the national cemetery system.

Gonzalez said that the plots had been fixed by Friday, adding that there is a process to repair the graves.

A sand and rock mixture is hardened, Gonzalez told KTSM.

“And then once we pour that we pour the soil on top, then once that’s done, we tamp it so the ground settles as much as it can and then we put the red rock, which is a special rock that you see around the gravesites here,” Gonzalez told the television station. “It’s basically what you see that coats the top.”