Geologist says recent rains possibly accelerating Riverdale landslide

May 30, 2018, 11:20 PM | Updated: 11:20 pm

RIVERDALE, Utah – A state geologist monitoring a landslide in a Riverdale neighborhood said if nothing changes, it is “inevitable” that homes will be completely lost.

Geologist Ben Erickson, with the Utah Geological Survey, said the sharp drop-off on the top of the landslide has moved 13 feet on the southern section and four feet on the northern end, in just the past two weeks.

“It’s appearing to be inevitable at this point,” Erickson said. “When is that going to happen? It’s hard to say. The house that we’re now seeing is the closest [to the edge]. We’ve been anticipating that for a long time.”

Erickson said the slide shows no signs of stopping, and is now just 6 ½ feet from one of the homes. He said this latest acceleration of land falling away could be due to recent rain storms, but the real problem is groundwater flowing at the bottom of the bluff that keeps on carrying away dirt, keeping the hillside unstable.

“So we know it’s been coming. We’re just now getting into the zone of when it’s going to happen,” he said.

This is a very difficult situation for the owners of the four affected homes. Three are under mandatory evacuations and one homeowner voluntarily evacuated.

Resident Dave Morgan has been in his home since 1996, and said he has never seen anything like this.

“What’s sad is these people next to the homes might be the next ones to go,” Morgan said. “They are in limbo. They have their boxes packed for the day that they say, ‘you have got to leave.’”

He said the area has changed in the last seven months since the slide started. He said he knows of a couple families who have sold or are trying to sell their homes before it is too late.

“People are selling their houses, and we don’t know what’s going on as far as the landslide, because the city won’t talk to us,” he said.

He said the frustrating part is not knowing if and when the homes, and possibly part of street, will slide away.

“The city hasn’t come and said what is underneath the road. Is it the sewer? Is it the water? Is it the electrical? What is going to be affected if it gets to the street? We don’t know. We don’t have any idea. We are in limbo,” he said.

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Geologist says recent rains possibly accelerating Riverdale landslide