Washington State Department of Ecology
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Reduce slide risks
Do's & Don'ts.
bluff edge
 
prevention dos

Do research
Learn about the geology and the history of your property. Talk to local officials, your neighbors, or visit the local library. Review geologic or slope stability maps of your area.

Do get advice
Get advice from a qualified geologist or geological engineer before buying a potentially unstable site or building your home. Although waterfront lots can be attractive sites, they often have severe natural limitations. They may also be subject to strict environmental and safety regulations.
getting help
getting help

Do leave a safe setback
Build a prudent distance from the top or bottom of steep slopes. Avoid sites that are too small to allow a safe setback from the slope. Allow adequate room for drainfields and driveways. Local setback requirements should be viewed as absolute minimums. Resist the urge to trade safety for a view.

Do keep plants
Maintain existing vegetation, both above and on steep slopes. Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers help anchor soils and absorb excess water. Get expert advice identifying and removing weeds.

Do maintain drainage
Collect runoff from roofs and improved areas and convey water away from the steep slope or to the beach in a carefully designed pipe system. Regularly inspect and maintain drainage systems.
 
prevention don'ts

Don't irrigate or put drainfields on a bluff
Avoid placing septic system drainfields or irrigation systems between a home and the edge of a bluff, where excess water or leakage could exacerbate slope instability.

Don't dump on a slope
Do not place clearing debris, yard waste, or fill material on a steep slope. Even small accumulations of debris can become saturated and precipitate a larger slide.

Don't change natural drainage
Avoid modifications of the ground that disrupt or alter natural drainage, unless based on the recommendations of a qualified geologist or engineer.

Don't cut into the slope toe.
Don't cut into a steep slope or excavate the toe of slope.

Don't overlook slide hazards
Do not be lulled into complacency by the lack of recent slides. Landslides typically only occur every few decades on a given site, and in some cases are even less frequent, but may remain a serious risk when heavy rains occur.
 
drainage
drainage
bulkheads and seawalls
bulkheads and seawalls
slope modifications
slope modifications
defensive measures
defensive measures
buttresses
buttresses
retaining wall
retaining wall
 
slide guide

Types of slides
Causes of slides
Slide signs
What to do
Prevention
FAQs
Getting help
Slide maps

Slide show
Shallow slides
Deep slides
Large slides
Benches
Geology
Insurance
Links

Hiring experts
Engineering
Drainage
Bulkheads
Retaining walls
Slope modification
Toe buttresses
Defensive approach
 
links

What to look for during and after heavy rains, USGS.
Where landslides occur, warning signs, and what to do.
       
 
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