It turns out that Staufen wanted to be a part of a green energy project back in 2007. The plan was for a company to begin drilling for geothermal energy, and the region could use the hot gas to power their electrical services.
But as they were drilling, the machines hit large pockets of groundwater, causing layer upon layer of dirt to mix and expand outward, lifting up the earth above it and forcing buildings to shift in different directions.
“We’ve been in crisis mode for ten years,” says Mayor Michael Benitz. “It’s a slow-motion catastrophe."
A mediation committee was formed after the growing damage became apparent. More than 400 claims have been filed with various levels of severity.
Two houses have already been intentionally demolished to prevent them from falling down accidentally, and there's a good chance more will follow suit.
The drilling company reached an out-of-court settlement with the municipal government for a total of $1.4 million.
No one knows just how bad the damage will get, or if they will ever feel safe in their homes again.