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Spring rainstorm has Riverdale residents watching slide area very closely

RIVERDALE — A total of three homes remain on a mandatory evacuation order and residents of a fourth home have voluntarily moved, over concerns about a landslide that first began moving in November.

The slide is now said to be within 10 yards of one of the homes.

“With the spring coming up now, it is going to get a lot more wet, a lot more rain is coming in and runoff coming down from the mountains and so that can have an influence on the slide with the ground water,” said Ben Erickson, a geologist with the Utah Geological Survey.

And geologists believe even though the homes have been here for more than 50 years, a change in the groundwater is what has caused the land to slide.

“The thing we do know is that the groundwater has a huge impact on causing the slide, and it is what is continuing to cause it to grow and continue to be a dangerous slide,” Erickson added.

Since the homes were evacuated in late November, fences have been placed to keep people out. Geologists say there will be little or no warning if the slides starts to move.

“You couldn’t get out of its way if it was moving, it was flowing very fast and there have been a lot of failures that has caused it to grow out and so each time it fails, it moves really fast,” Erickson said.

The Utah Geological Survey is using GPS to monitor any new movement.

“It is a dangerous slide, that is what is being emphasized the most, is how dangerous it is and we are getting into new territory, so it is going to be unpredictable, we have only seen it in the winter time, not the spring time and so we can only assume it will accelerate and so that is where our concern is, Erickson said.

Neighbors who live nearby worry that if the slide keeps moving, their homes could be condemned. They say no decision has been made yet to tear the houses down before the slide reaches them.

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