Landslides are a worldwide concern for numerous reasons. In Wales, the concern relates to the over 2000 coal tips that are no longer used but create environmental hazards and sometimes result in landslides endangering the people in nearby communities. A coal tip is a place coal or coal waste is tipped out and/or a mound or heap of coal or coal waste that has been tipped.
In February of 2020, the fears of landslide experts were realized when a landslide occurred at a coal tip in Tylorstown during storm Dennis. The Welsh Government commissioned a project to analyze the stability of the coal tips and learned the problems are widespread. The infrastructure in these areas is compromised by leftover coal, climate change, water leaks, and more. Repairs with the goal of stabilization could cost 500m pounds.
The Welsh government retained Central Alliance with their Groundsat analysis system including ASTERRA’s EarthWorks technology to assess the existing drainage systems in many of the approximately 327 (of the 2456) which are high-risk tips. The goal is to identify moisture that is below the surface of the soil which represents a future risk of landslides. It is also to evaluate the existing drainage systems and identify moisture that presents the risk of future landslides or other infrastructure problems. Images and additional descriptions can be found in this BBC article. In the article, the joint project manager, Richard Pidcok, emphasized the importance of the data from EarthWorks to help prioritize the work and focus on the high-risk areas.
The EarthWorks product used for this initiative is largely the same technology used in ASTERRA’s Recover product, developed to locate water and life on other planets by remotely measuring soil moisture below the surface of the planet. On an incessant quest to advance the United Nations Sustainability Goals, ASTERRA recently hosted a reseller summit at Aquatech 2021 with a keynote by Professor Dragon Savic. Professor Savic is a Professor of Hydroinfomatics at the University of Exeter in the UK and is the CEO of KWR Water Research. Learn more about this here.
ASTERRA is investing in artificial intelligence as it expands to bring the power of machine learning to improve its already innovative algorithms.