At the last evacuees’ meeting held by the city, an updated map was posted showing the original “cut and fill” for the impacted landslide area. Initially it just looked like more incidental geological information, until I finally realized that what I was staring at was the actual cause of our disaster!
The map shows a peninsula of land attached to the “No-name” cul-de-sac on Avenida De Santiago that then crosses Serrano Street and on toward the reservoir. On each side of the peninsula are valleys that carry off the rainwater.
In order to create Serrano Street, the City of Anaheim approved the severing of this peninsula of land -- not taking into consideration that this peninsula of land was actually a buttress supporting the hill from sliding. The City of Anaheim removed the “lateral support” needed to prevent the disaster that has befallen us. This is exactly the same situation as when Cal-Trans was found liable for damages incurred due to their widening of Pacific Coast Highway.
The land removed from the peninsula was used as fill for the two adjacent valleys. This fill was then compacted to a density of probably 92% so that it would support the planned construction of the homes flanking Vassar Circle to the west and Lehigh Drive to the east. A side effect to this compaction process is that it plugs up the natural rivers and springs that run beneath the earth’s surface, emptying into the valleys. Once these rivers have been dammed with compacted fill, they slowly back up with new rainfall -- constantly raising the water table.
Each of these conditions, the removal of lateral support or a constantly rising water table, can, in their own right, be disastrous to a known active landslide, but combined they become a ticking time bomb threatening the very lives of all who live within its proximity.
And now the El Nino is once again approaching...