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How to Protect Your Property from a Landslide

If you think your property is at risk:

  1. Learn about the history of your property. Areas that have experienced landslides in the past are likely to experience them again. Your city may keep records of past landslides, and you can also try this landslide inventory-mapping tool (in beta) from the California Department of Conservation.
  2. Hire a professional to evaluate the drainage on your property. You may need to build channels to deflect flow around buildings. Be aware: you are responsible for damage to neighboring properties caused by water diverted from your own.
  3. Plant ground cover on slopes—the root networks can help stabilize hilly areas.
  4. Consider hiring a professional to build a retaining wall. Bear in mind that any retaining wall built to contain soil should be designed by a licensed engineering contractor and built either by the designer or an experienced contractor who’s able to follow the design precisely.
  5. Have flexible pipefittings installed to avoid gas or water leaks in the event of a landslide.

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The Causes of Landslides

By Christopher Wilhite, chief engineer and co-owner at Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc.

As we approach the rainy season, it’s time to start paying attention to what rain can mean for the Bay Area. While rain may ease our persistent drought, it can also cause issues for Bay Area residents, especially after so many dry years. One consequence of rain after a drought is the increased likelihood of landslides—a familiar problem in this beautiful but hilly region. Debris flows (a type of landslide more commonly known as “mudslides”) have caused millions of dollars worth of property damage in the Bay Area. More importantly, people can and have died as a result of these fast-moving landslides. Bay Area residents: it’s time to get informed and prepared. To start the conversation, we asked Christopher Wilhite, chief engineer at Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc., to explain precisely what causes landslides. 

Landslide repairs in Lafayette

Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc. repairs damage from a landslide in Lafayette. Photo: Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc., 2016

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