With the increase in modern highway construction, the occurrence of landslides has been growing proportionally due to the use of deeper cuts and higher fills. It has been observed that landslides on highways often occur in fills on hillsides. Accumulation of water in the embankment, usually seeping from a nearby hill, may reduce the shear strength of the embankment soil and result in failure at a later time. Many landslides on Kentucky highways have occurred a few years after construction and obviously have been caused by the gradual weakening of the embankment due to a damming and accumulation of water. Thus, locating and tracing seepage water in unstable slopes or in potential landslide areas become a significant tool in designing systems to remove or cut off the water so that the stability of the slope is maintained or increased.

Locating and tracing ground water have been done by two old and effective but rather expensive and time-consuming methods - borings and excavation. In recent years, efforts have been made to develop methods which are as effective as borings and excavation but require less time and can be accomplished at lower costs. The study reported herein is part of this effort to improve techniques. Interesting information and additional data have been added to the state of knowledge. In this investigation, several methods, such as the use of tracers, water table observation, and electrical resistivity, were considered and studied.

Report Date


Report Number

No. 288

Digital Object Identifier



The opinions, findings, and conclusions in this report are not necessarily those of the Department of Highways or the Bureau of Public Roads.