California water leak could lead to landslide

In Lakeport, California, sinking landscaping has led to the damage of several homes. Lake County officials are turning to a leak detection survey to pinpoint what caused the threat of a landslide. It is possible that water leaks in the local public water or irrigation systems may be the culprit. In addition to causing disruption to many houses, the issues could lead to problems with water, sewer and storm drain operations in the community.

A 30-foot-wide path of land within the Lakeside Heights subdivision sank and affected homes along the way. Of the homes experiencing sinking land, one suffered a large split on an outside wall of the house and another is beginning to pull away from its foundation. In another location, a 5-foot hole has extended under both houses and open space. Although these occurrences do not add up to an actual landslide, the treat of one is still on the forefront of many city officials’ and residents’ minds.

Landslides can occur in any of the 50 states and average about $1-2 billion in repairs every year. These geological hazards are often the result of urban expansion within hilly areas. In general, landslides coincide with the instance of an earthquake, volcano, wildfire or flood. So, the threat of ground damage due to a landslide without a correlating natural disaster is not only worrisome, but uncommon.

“There are two possible culprits out there,” Kevin Ingram of the Lake County Administrative Office told the Lake County News.

One option is a broken water pipe within the area’s infrastructure and another is a leak in the 2-inch irrigation line that supports the Lakeside Heights Homeowners Association. This is where the leak detection equipment will come into play – it will allow officials to target what exactly has caused the problem.

Until the issue is resolved, there are three different units within the subdivision that have been marked as unsafe for housing. Both a duplex and single family home were “red-tagged” and the residents have been forced to find alternate living accommodations. Not all of the units in the affected fourplex were affected by the structural damage.

Until the source of the water leak that has caused these problems is found, homes in the area are at risk of further damages. If the water system is to blame, it will more than likely have to be relocated.

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