EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Three homes in East Liverpool continue to slowly slide off their foundations along Lisbon Street.
The movement has been happening for almost three weeks, and just this weekend, one of the houses moved significantly since cracks along the road and foundation were discovered. Last week, core samplers arrived with a drill to find the possible cause of the earth movement, but they said they won’t be done with testing for another couple of days.
Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, a geology professor at Youngstown State University, said these underground slippage issues are scientifically referred to as mass wasting and that landslides are a subset of it.
“It’s not as devastating as an earthquake or volcano, but in the long run, it causes the majority of the natural hazards here in the U.S.,” he said.
Beiersdorfer said the amount of damage each year caused by mass wasting in Ohio is in the tens of millions of dollars. He said drilling is the best way to find the cause to the problem. The tests, he said, will determine how deep the soil is and whether it is just the soil moving or the bedrock beneath it causing the movement.
He said while this was a surprise for the families, it shouldn’t have been that shocking for East Liverpool.
A Mass Wasting Hazard Risk map put together from a U.S. Geological Survey shows areas in red are at high risk of mass wasting. East Liverpool borders many of those areas.
“If you look where East Liverpool is, it’s right bordering where it’s sort of moderate to high incidents of mass wasting, so in many ways, it’s unfortunate for the homeowners, but it’s not a surprise,” he said.
He said it was a smart decision to condemn the home for the safety of the residents who were living there.
In the meantime, Lisbon Street will be open to local traffic only, and school buses will be rerouted, according to City Service/Safety Director Brian Allen. The northbound lane of the street is still intact, but recent rains have created more movement in the earth.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has out up barricades to prevent traffic in the area and is in the process of placing detour signs.