Landslide on the Kitimat River

District of Kitimat forced to stop pumping water

The pumps which supply Kitimat with drinking water had to be turned off last week when the Kitimat River turned a bright, muddy brown.

On Wednesday, July 3, the District of Kitimat was forced to send out an urgent message appealing to Kitimat residents to conserve water.

“Please be advised that due to dirty source water in the Kitimat River, there has been a temporary loss in the water pumping capacity,” read the notice, issued by DoK spokesperson Josh Marsh.

“The District of Kitimat is asking residents to limit their water usage. Please restrict watering and excess water usage until further notice.”

What caused the river to turn brown was a landslide which happened sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday morning along the bank of the upper reaches of the Kitimat River, in a remote spot inaccessible by road.

The Northern Sentinel reached out to pipeline construction company Coastal GasLink (CGL) to determine if the landslide was related to construction activities along the pipeline route.

CGL senior communications specialist Natasha Westover confirmed on Thursday that a landslide had occurred but that it wasn’t related to the company’s construction activities.

CGL dispatched a helicopter to patrol the river and spotted the landslide on Wednesday afternoon, at a location three kilometres upstream from where CGL had worked on creating a right of way for the nearly 670km pipeline which will deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas facility in Kitimat.

“The CGL team have confirmed a landslide but not from our activities. A chopper was taken up the river to confirm and we found the location where a rainstorm caused a landslide,” said Westover.

Coastal GasLink also supplied the Northern Sentinel with photos of the landslide taken from the helicopter.

On Thursday morning the Kitimat River had cleared sufficiently for the DoK to continue pumping water from the river.

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The Kitimat River on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo Gerry Leibel)

The landslide above the 18 Mile bridge over the Kitimat River. (Photo Coastal GasLink)

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