Limiting Mass Wasting Potential

Drainage Controls

Ultimately preventing mass wasting is impossible because gravity will always exist, but smarter development can help minimize the risk and hazards. One component in landslide mitigation is basic drainage control of water. Recall that water can cause slopes to lose their friction as water lubricates individual grains of soil. And if you cut a slope and put a retaining wall for support, you may be preventing the water from filtering through. Thus you will often find drains at the base of retaining walls that allow underground water within the slopes to drain out.

Slope Grade and Support

If people dig into the base of a slope to create a road or a home site, the slope may become unstable and move downhill. This is particularly dangerous when the underlying rock layers slope toward the area. Slope support is one of most common types of mitigation for potential mass wasting. As mentioned above, a retaining wall can be built to support a steep slope. Next, the retaining wall must be anchored to the bedrock within the slope to hold the wall to the slope. Another type of slope support is simply planting vegetation. The roots of vegetation tend to grab and hold soil in place, so by planting various types of plants and trees can be a simple and cheap way to stabilize a slope. For more on examples of what homeowners can do to minimize the risk of landslides (in this case, Utah), click here.

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