Residents near site of NSL landslide on edge after signs of movement appear

Posted at 10:00 PM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 00:00:42-04

NORTH SALT LAKE -- It has been nearly two years since a devastating landslide hit North Salt Lake. Now, as heavy rains come down, residents are on edge and there is evidence the earth is moving, again.

“You live next door to a potential disaster,” said Todd Chapman, a 9-year resident of North Salt Lake.

The potential for disaster became reality in August of 2014 when a landslide put dozens of buildings in danger and destroyed an Eagle Point home. Now the house is gone, and mounds of dirt remind residents of the slide. When the rains come down, it puts this community on edge.

“When the water comes, and then there's fissure cracks that start showing again, which was the sign of things that happened the first time,” Chapman said.

That's what they're seeing with the latest storm. Cracks, sliding dirt, and debris all indicate the hillside is moving.

“It affects your property value, it affects your mobility, should you want to move, you might not really be able to,” Chapman said.

The city has removed tons of dirt and is securing the foundation below.

“We think our citizens are safe," said Len Arave, North Salt Lake mayor. "We think their property is safe."

They know despite their efforts, parts of the hillside are unstable.

“Some of the movement that we're having up there isn't totally unexpected, we had a lot of earth that was disturbed,” Arave said.

The city says the movement is minimal.

“If there is movement, it will be significantly slower," Arave said. "Rather than tens of yards a day, you know, maybe a few feet a year."

Those words don't bring relief to residents. Looking at the hillside, they say a large part of the damage remains untouched.

“Last time their remarks were: 'We can't believe this was so big, we came and looked at it, and we didn't expect anything this size.' So, you know, his remarks are not comforting,” Chapman said.

Going forward, residents hope to see the area become safe again so they can go to bed at night and not worry about disaster.

“It’s clear we have a problem here, and it's clear it hasn't been resolved to the full extent,” Chapman said.

A geo-technician will be at city hall next week giving an update on the area.