Land continues to slide, storm crews continue to work

A driver in an earth mover sits idly in the rain on Trestles Drive in Santa Clarita below the backyards of the homes on Terri Drive above that are slipping down. Dan Watson/The Signal

As more rain is scheduled to fall on the Santa Clarita Valley, the earth at the Trestles/American Beauty landslide site continued to move as of Thursday afternoon.

“There’s definitely been some movement, but not a ton,” said Amy Ambrose, division president for Landscape Development, the company put in charge of protecting the slipping landslide from the rain. “It’s been a couple millimeters, but if you haven’t been there day to day” you wouldn’t be able to notice that much of a difference.

However, despite the incremental slippage over the past few weeks of rainfall, the landscaping company hired by both neighborhoods’ homeowners associations is not taking any chances.

“We’re keeping it covered,” Ambrose said. “We got a decent amount of rain (Wednesday), about half an inch, and (Thursday) it’s been a consistent light shower.”

Ambrose added that there is a chance of rain this weekend as well, so LDI plans to keep the hillside covered through the coming days, while rolling back some on their 24/7 emergency storm crews.

“It’s not 24-hour watches anymore,” Ambrose said. “If it does rain, we’ll get out there, but we also want to make sure our guys can go home and get some rest.”

The emergency storm crews, which are generally made up of eight to 10 workers per shift, stand guard to make sure the tarps, sandbags, drainage system and sump pumps get all the damaging water removed and down to safer pooling areas.

Ambrose said between LDI, the HOAs and the geotechnical work being done by the private firms hired by the HOAs to find the source and responsibility for the land shift, which has led to the evacuation of five homes, work is being continually done on the hillside in order to mitigate further damage to the communities above and below.

“We’re all just kind of communicating with one another,” said Ambrose, adding that the geologists and LDI crews need to coordinate when the tarping can be on or off the hillside. “It’s a big cooperative effort.”

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