Western Bay District Council invests in Omokoroa landslide research


Research into why Omokoroa cliffs are prone to slips is getting a financial boost.

The Western Bay of Plenty District Council will contribute funds over the next three years towards Omokoroa landslide research, with University of Waikato Doctoral students believing they might have found a way to stabilise the sensitive soils and reduce the number of landslides.

The Council will contribute $10,000 annually over the next three years towards a University of Waikato Doctoral Research Project on Omokoroa’s geology, centred on soil stabilisation.

Dr Moon and her colleague Dr Willem de Lange, presented an update of their research to Council’s operations committee this week.

The team has been studying Omokoroa’s landslides since 2009, focusing on the Bramley Drive landslide that occurred in 1979.

Dr Moon said their attention was on the failure of the sensitive soils at the base of landslides.

Dr Moon said initial laboratory testing showed huge promise with a big uptake of the salt and a near-doubling of the peak strength of the soil. However, more testing is required over a wide range of stresses to confirm the early results.

A small field trial in Omokoroa will be carried out when possible to install soil-mixed columns and monitor how quickly concentrations of the salt can be achieved.

On-site research has been stalled since Cyclone Debbie caused further slippages in April this year, making the cliff sites unsafe for researchers.

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