New Report Details What Caused Fort Washington Landslide; Fix Could Take Months
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Rapid, heavy rain caused a slow motion landslide that put more than two dozen families out of their homes. It could be months before they can return.
That’s according to a new report released on the slope failure in Fort Washington.
Meghan McCorkell spoke to homeowners.
That 200-page report was released to the evacuated residents of 28 homes who say they still have many questions about what happens now.
For two and a half weeks, it’s been an uncertain future for residents near Piscataway Drive in Fort Washington.
“It’s very hard. Very hard,” Shahid Rana said.
Rana’s home sits on top of the hill where the earth gave way on May 4.
“When you hear different things–the mud coming down, the walls are sinking–that makes us worried,” Rana said.
Homeowners questioned officials Thursday night on a new 200-page report detailing what caused the slide.
“There’s something, a lot more going on in the whole neighborhood,” one resident said.
“That water’s been leaking down in that area for a long time,” said another.
Engineers found a 30-foot layer of Marlboro Clay in the soil. Geologists say, with heavy rain, that clay caused the slope to give way.
“It doesn’t have the ability to hold the soil above it, so it starts to slip once it breaks that sheer stress,” said Richard Ortt, Maryland Geological Survey.
The report proposes three options to stabilize the area, including backfilling the ground, retaining walls and micropiles, which are large steel rods drilled into the ground.
One thing the report does not provide is a timeline for when residents can safely return to their homes. County officials warn it could be months.
“It’s going to be months before we can even get to the next point. We have to evaluate all three options,” said Darrell Mobley, Department of Public Works director.
Engineers warn that even today the ground continues to move in the area, and there’s no quick fix to the problem.
County officials say because of that continued movement, they aren’t able to rebuild broken water and sewer pipes servicing that area.
The county will now do a cost analysis of the stabilization options.
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