National Building Research Organisation

National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) the premier research & development institute
established in 1984 has now grown in to a successful technical service provider and research & development institution
where experts from multiple disciplines have teamed up and dedicated to create a disaster free built environment for the nation.


Disastrous Failure at the Solid Waste Disposal Site at Meethotamulla

A disastrous slope failure occurred at the municipal solid waste disposal site at Pothuwilkumbura, Meethotamulla, Kolonnawa about 14.45 hrs. on April 14th 2017. According to Disaster Management Center figures about 29 bodies have been recovered from the area and some more are believed to be missing. About 79 houses have been completely destroyed and 17 are partially destroyed. Some persons have been evacuated from the area for safety. Rescue operations are in progress at the moment.

NBRO staff conducted a ground survey and a drone survey to assess the impacts. These surveys are still continued in order to identify impact zones.

According to NBRO findings, the subsurface below the dump has several different soil layers. Prominent among them is a peat layer which is above a hard soil layer. Subsequent to heavy rains rain water penetrated into the waste pile and the additional load caused by the infiltration of rain water in to the garbage mass may have caused the instability in soft soil underneath, resulting a deep seated failure in the garbage fill. This resulted in a lateral movement of the peat layer in the direction of houses and the significant ground up heaving has taken place at the toe region and houses situated there were severely damaged.

There is still a possibility reactivating of such movement and with heavy rains, a similar situation can occur again. Therefore, people are advised to be cautious and keep away from danger zone.


Fig-1   Location of the Meethotumulla dumping site failure on 14th April 2017


Fig-2: Damaged area due to failure 14th April 2017

 Impact Area

Fig-3: Drone image over the impact area

View Disaster Situation Report

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