Washington State Department of Ecology
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defensive measures

In many situations, the costs of stabilizing a slope may be too high. Consider reducing risks, building barriers, or moving homes.
barriers against bluff

In many situations, landslides may be impractical to prevent. The costs of stabilizing a slope may be too high to justify. Homes built at the toe of steep slopes are often vulnerable to slides and debris flows that originate on property controlled by others. In these cases, the best solution may be one that reduces the potential risk from a slide, without actually preventing the slide in the first place.

Relocating homes
Often the simplest measure, although not without costs and tradeoffs, is to relocate a home or structure away from the site that is at risk from sliding. When developing a site plan for new construction, locating structures in less hazardous portions of the site is relatively inexpensive insurance and far cheaper than dealing with slide risks later.

Property owners at the toe of steep slopes may be able, in some situations, to create barriers or catchments that trap smaller landslides. Such structures must be designed to withstand the volumes and velocities of material in any potential slide, and must not direct material onto neighbor's property. In addition, designs must allow removal of trapped material. Barriers may consist of reinforced walls on the side of a building facing the slope or separate walls or berms near the toe of the slope.

Get professional advice
As with other efforts at slope stabilization, any measures to protect homes from potential landslides should be undertaken only under the advice of competent geotechnical engineers. Many complex factors must be considered and the consequences of poor judgement are large.
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