Floods are not the only hazard homeowners have to be concerned about as the melting begins; the risk landslides pose to Summit County homes is steadily increasing as the soil becomes more saturated, according to Richard Giraud, a Senior Geologist with the Utah Geological Survey.
Unlike floods, which can be predicted, monitored and prepared for ahead of time, landslides pose a sudden and random risk with little that can be done to prevent or foresee them. As developments continue to expand into hillsides and weaken soil, more roads and structures are poised to be affected by a landslide.
“We have significant potential to see landslides this spring, there have already been some minor ones near Pinebrook and Chalk Creek Road,” said Kevin Callahan, the Public Service Works Director for Summit County.
One of these recent landslides, which occurred in the Aspen Acres neighborhood near Oakley, pushed a summer cabin off its foundation and knocked out utilities to neighboring homes. The county is anticipating seeing more of such incidents.
“We are very aware of the conditions and observing any changes. If there is lots of water coming out of a hill, that is reason for concern that a landslide could happen there,” said Callahan. “Little else can be done to prevent a landslide, even when an at-risk area is identified.”