Landslide Emergency - Who to Call
If a landslide damages your property and you have an immediate concern for your safety, leave the premises and call 9-1-1.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU)
All Drainage Complaints and Maintenance requests related to storm drain or wastewater facilities:
- Field Operations, staffed 24/7: 386-1800
Department of Planning and Development (DPD)
To report a landslide on private property:
- DPD Compliance Center: 615-0808
Private Property: Building, grading or cutting trees in landslide prone areas (including landslide-related repairs):
- Applicant Services Center: 684-8850
Connecting to a storm drain or wastewater pipe, including acquiring side-sewer permits:
- Site Development Team: 684-8860
Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)
Landslide debris blocking a street
- Street Maintenance: 386-1218 (staffed 24/7) or 684-ROAD
Department of Parks and Recreation (PARKS)
Parks property management and permits
- Dan Johnson: 684-7263
Seattle property owners with structures that may be affected or endangered by a landslide should contact a geotechnical engineering professional for an evaluation. Affected properties might also need assistance from a structural engineer. Listings for geotechnical and structural engineers can be found in telephone directories and at websites for professional engineering associations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers Seattle Section Geotechnical Group or the Structural Engineers Association of Washington.
Landslides are common in Seattle. They occur when there is tension between the stresses pulling down on a slope and the resistance holding it in place. The slope becomes more and more unstable as the forces of resistance and stress converge. The change in these forces is caused by dynamic factors. Some develop gradually, such as normal erosion and weathering. Others occur suddenly, such as earthquakes and torrential rains that increase water pressure within a slope.
Usually, the most catastrophic landslides occur on slopes that already have a low margin of safety (often due to weathering and erosion) and are struck by a sudden event (i.e., an earthquake, rain, or human alteration of the slope). Determining a slope's slide potential rests on discovering the inherent stability of the slope and the intensity of forces that undermine its stability.
How is DPD Involved?
DPD assists in the City's preparedness efforts for possible landslides by providing Seattle residents with information to help homes and businesses prepare for a potential landslide; by inspecting residences and businesses to make sure these structures meet City codes and regulations upon approval of a DPD permit; and by providing rapid evaluations and expedited emergency repair permits for structures damaged by a landslide.
Seattle Landslide Information
- Environmentally Critical Areas Ordinance (SMC 25.09; link to City Clerk's website)
- CAM 331A, ECA: Vegetation Restoration
- CAM 331B, ECA: Hazard Trees
March 27, 2013