1927: In Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, post-glacial action caused 500 feet of Lake Michigan bluff – along with the mansions on it – to move lakeward at a staggering average rate of four inches per day.
1936: A tunnel was dug by hand 50 feet below ground surface and 400 feet behind the Whitefish Bay bluff crest to intercept groundwater flowing toward the bluff. That bluff has been relatively stable since 1936.
1936 civil engineering study
1990s: More practical solutions emerged. Special vertical groundwater drains were used in highway embankments to prevent failures. A federal government grant confirms the success of these vertical drains.
2002: Bluff Drain LLC devises a bluff drain solution to stabilize bluff properties and begins successfully using the system to prevent further collapses. Geotextile-coated wick drains can are installed from a bluff top using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methods patented by Bluff Drains LLC.
U.S. Patent No. 6,948,886.
2002: Bluff Drains were first tried in a failing bluff at Bender Park in Milwaukee as part of a multiprong remedy for a massive bluff failure. They were a great success at Bender Park and have been used in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan with excellent results.