Landslide area still dangerous, and could worsen

Local News

RIVERDALE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Neighbors in the Riverdale neighborhood are worried rain which is expected in the coming days could worsen a landslide which has already forced the evacuation of three homes.

Dawn Benegar lives two houses down from the area that was evacuated. It wasn’t until the slide they realized how vulnerable their hill property was.

“It’s just a real devastating situation for people and you just don’t realize until it starts happening to you,” said Benegar.

Her property also has a steep drop off in the back yard and it’s why they worry.

Experts said the landslide is being caused by water in the ground and there is a spring under the surface. 

Ben Erickson is a geologist with the Utah Department of Natural Resources. On Thursday they installed GPS monitors in the ground to track the ground movement.  

While predicting future slides is hard, Erickson notes the current conditions are still extremely dangerous.

“It’s something you need to be really concerned about until it starts to stabilize,” said Erickson. “We haven’t seen any real signs of stabilization yet.”

The water has been the main cause of the slide, and it continues to pour out of the soil. With rain in the forecast there is a worry the slide could get bigger.

“Excess water in the ground that caused the slide in the first place,” said Erickson. “There is still water coming out and we’re not sure of how much water is still in there.”

Neighbors have been told they too may need to be ready to evacuate if the slide worsens. Benegar said it was hard to think about having to suddenly grab stuff and go. She’s already preparing some items.

“It does make you think about what you would grab if you need to go,” said Benegar.

One of the hardest parts for residents is the equity they could lose if they have to leave their home. Benegar said after living in their home for 20 years that was going to be a big part of their nest egg.

Experts said it can be hard to predict when a slide will stop. They note slides like the 2014 one in North Salt Lake in 2014 still shift today. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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