News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Akron General

Akron Children's Hospital


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Ohio has surprisingly high rate of landslides
Though not particularly dangerous, these slides are costly for the state and residents
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Team of Gannet-Fleming, Inc. geophysical engineering consultants examines road slide remediation in Bath Township
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The destructive power of “moving earth”’ has been in the news a lot this spring: from Washington state’s deadly landslide, to West Virginia’s gas-pipeline break triggered by a slipping hillside. It turns out, the risk is also very real right here in Ohio.

In the cost of damage from earth movement, the state ranks among the top five in the country; and Cincinnati is No. 1 in per-capita cost from landslides among the nation's large metro areas--with the Cuyahoga Valley and Lake Erie shore near Cleveland not far behind.

LISTEN: RUDELL ON LANDSLIDES

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:06)


When it comes to landslides, in numbers, and cost, Ohio's rolling hills are  right up there among big states like California and Washington with their rugged peaks. Old fence new fence -- slide near Bath 

Mitch Weber, a geophysical engineer, is unfolding a wall map in his Bath township office.

“This is from the United States Geologic Survey Tim," Weber says. "It’s their map of landslide susceptibility on the national level."

The map uses red to indicate places most at risk. Some of reddest swaths are in Ohio and especially in the valleys and lake shore areas of northeast Ohio.

Water makes the difference
There are a couple of reasons why, says Kent State University geology professor Abdul Shakoor,Dr. Abdul Shakoor, Kent State University a world renowned landslide researcher. We have deep soil on top of loose rock because of long-ago glaciers; and a great deal of water because of our current climate. 

“Slopes are very steep," Shakoor says. "They are made of these fine gained soils, silts and clays brought by the glaciers.fine texture clays The streams at the bottom undercut the slopes and we are in a region with rain and snow melt. Among all the causes of the landslides, water is the most important.”

Some areas most at risk include Moreland Hills, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Bath Township, where engineer Mitch Weber takes a hike.

He points out how steep-soil erosion acts like sugar on a spoon. Dirt slips out from the bottom of ravines and embankments in a succession of layers, but these layers can be the fronts of whole hill sides, sliding down as one patch of ground: grass, bushes and all.Mitch Weber, geophysical engineer

“It slides down and it becomes like this perpetual process," Weber says. "They come down, trees sitting on them. It’s riding down the slope and we’ll see lots of them.”

Swallowed by the lake
Water working away at loose soil is similarly the culprit in another landslide-prone part of northeast Ohio, the Lake Erie shore. Tony Yankel lives in Bay Village. He has watched his yard disappear into the lake at the rate of about half a foot a year for 30 years. He also watched his neighbor’s yard fall away much more quickly.

“Their hillside had been dropping like mine had been," Yankel says. "You know, six or eight inches every February. They were trying to fill some of that in, and got it filled in pretty good. I was sitting at my desk one day and all of a sudden I heard this loud roar and a shaking, and looked outside, and literally, his hillside just collapsed into the lake.” 

There are ways to prevent landslides, and to deal with the damage they cause. But both can be expensive.retaining wall On the prevention side, for example, the state of Ohio spent $60 million just to eliminate rock-slide threats along Route-7 between East Liverpool and Steubenville.

Where to go?
For home owners, prevention costs can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Soil nails are driven into the hillside with air cannonsBut the consequences of not spending the money can be even more financially devastating.

Mitch Weber points out that home-owners’ insurance does not typically cover landslides, there are no government programs to help and, right now, there is no move to change any of that.

“So here you are in this dilemma, and what do you do?" Weber asks. "This stuff tears your heart out.  And, I’ll tell you, I’ve been in so many teary-eyed situations and I’m like, 'There’s no insurance. There’s nothing for you.'”

Tony Yankel says he and his neighbors have spent heavily on prevention and repair; but he has been reminded that there is only so much you can do.

“We had a storm, and the house is shaking from the waves beating," Yankel says. "My youngest was 4 or 5 at the time. I’m thinking, 'You act like I’m this great father and what not,' and I’m thinking, 'This house may collapse and I’m just here kissing you good night.'  It’s scary when you’re in a place when you know there is movement. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to live there. It may have moved a year ago or 10 years ago. But it’s something you think about all the time.”

So far, Ohio’s landslides have not been deadly because they’re typically fairly small. But they’re also numerous and they cause tens of millions of dollars in damage every year.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

ResponsibleOhio names 10 counties as possible pot-growing locations
Ohio has always made its money off our prison system ,and ohio is so hard nose on us the public that there voicing concerns saying there on our behalf bullcrap ...

Akron's plan to create its own construction company is on hold -- for now
They talk about displacing workers... This is all about the teamster union. The city is allowing RW Sidley out of Canton to haul concrete for one of the CSO pr...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University