New north bank photos show increased seepage below Site C work camp

Yes, new photos in…and no, they aren’t being taken with a drone ( someone asked) , but by air with a telephoto lens. Why? Because the news that the Old Fort slide was caused by bedrock failure really didn’t get much attention and it should have.

Why does this matter you ask?  Because the ‘bedrock’ ( shale ‘bedrock’) BC hydro plans to attach Site C to, is extremely problematic and I wonder if it could fail as dramatically as the Old Fort slide area just downstream did.

” The ground beneath the Old Fort landslide had been moving for months before it finally let go in a massive collapse in September and forced more than 150 residents to evacuate their homes.

~snip~

The bedrock failed in the area of a gravel pit that had been operating on the hillside above Old Fort, according to Smith. The slide was last estimated at more than eight million cubic metres, and has pushed its way down through a gully beneath the gravel pit and into a back channel of the Peace River.

Evidence so far suggests the ground had been moving for months before its collapse, Smith said.

“This piece of ground has been moving for quite a while before it let go,” he said.

“It’s a pretty big slide. It’s not just what has happened so far.”

Data from a laser light survey technique called LiDAR continues to be collected daily, and recent data hasn’t shown any significant movement of the landslide, Smith said. However, that could change, and winter weather will be a factor.

“The time of year when movement is going to be of the greatest concern is during the periods when we have excessive snowmelt or rain on snow, and the groundwater levels are high,” Smith said.

No doubt. The rain and snowmelt played havoc on the north slope of Site C as well, which is part of what led to the massive tension crack at one point, exactly like what has been seen in the Old Fort Slide.

BC Hydro knows the bedrock at Site C is unstable. Its documented in BCUC documents:

bcucgeotechconcerns1bcucgeotechconcerns2

So. You can bet your money on the fact those in charge at Hydro are making damn sure everything is monitored right now regardless of how awesome they say everything is, which brings me back to the new photos I have below.

20181029_11531720181029_11484520181029_115544

In the first photo you can really see just how close that camp is to the edge of the north slope, above and down from the diversion tunnels. From my source:

Couple shots from yesterday. Lot of vehicles and people looking over the North Bank. Moisture leaking out all over the whole thing. And noticeable right below the camp. Center of one photo shows a bad spot. And the shot of the blocked back channel shows the new road to the old fort.

Ah well, seems like a really stupid place to build a dam with all these unstable soils and even more unstable bedrock, but they are going to keep on building.

And it reminds me again of how eerily Site C continues to follow the path of the ill-fated Muskrat Falls project…which is now undergoing a public inquiry because of what a clusterfuck it is. No one listened to the naysayers ( they were bullied, harassed and called crazy) or even financial experts. A premier won an election campaigning to stop Muskrat…then said it was too far along to stop. And then the hydro CEO even admitted it was the wrong project…but they kept building for the same reason they keep building site c.

Now however, it turns out all those  ‘crazy’ naysayers were right all along..they should have stopped Muskrat Falls when they had the chance.

But there is no comfort in being right…when the wrong is already done. Just like Site C.

51 thoughts on “New north bank photos show increased seepage below Site C work camp

  1. Mike Summers

    What a surprise.
    Too bad we don’t have power in the people’s hands to tell them want to do.
    So we are going to see this through to completion and pay for it for an eternity.

    1. Unless Mother Nature intervenes (quickly) and puts this venture to bed this Winter.
      Otherwise, you are correct, and eternity is a long, long time.
      Seems strange, with all this engineering technology, that they didn’t build the camp further back, or intercept the seepage before it precipitated the failure/s.
      Oh well, as long as there are no serious consequences, lets plug on as if we knew there were no problems. After all, money is a renewable resource, as long as one restricts the loss of this source to a few taxpayers living downstream of this catastrophe.

  2. e.a.f.

    Ah, that does not look good. Wouldn’t want to sleep in that camp.

    The Alaska Highway News has an article up about some new research regarding why fracking causes earthquakes in some areas and not in other areas.

    Money is a renewable resource, yes, but its my resource and if my electrical rates go up if that whole mess slides down, it cuts in to my weed budget. Make the builders of the dam pay, let it be their renewable resource, not mine because ……………..well I just don’t want to pay for the dam, dam especially if it slides. However, if its going to slide, let it happen quickly, very quickly before the finish it and spend more of my renewable resources and yours and before the water is backed up behind a huge dam because if that happens, and the water goes into Alberta, they won’t be happy.

  3. Ray Mason

    If there is an actual danger to the workers in the camp worksafe BC should be contacted and have them look at it. This is just ridiculous that it is still going ahead.

  4. nonconfidencevote

    Perhaps we could name this Dam

    Clark’s Hubris

    So that when it fails the entire world will know who to blame.
    But her “vapidness” will love it.
    She’ll just cut another headline out of the newspaper for her scrapbook….

    1. Laila Yuile

      She started it. Pushed for fast time lines which resulted in accidents etc.

      Horgan had a choice. This is on him now. Just as Muskrats continuation was on Dwight Ball.

    2. Laila Yuile

      Reagardless of her well documented push to get this dam past the point of no return, she didn’t manage to get that far. It was Horgans govt who decided to continue it, much like Dwight Ball continued Muskrat and now they are in the midst of a public inquiry where the lies and denials are flying and an attempt at rewriting the past is occurring.

      There too, ratepayers were taken for granted just as in BC

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/consumer-advocate-muskrat-falls-inquiry-1.4890252

      Manitoba is in similar trouble. They are looking at privatization. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/ndp-manitoba-hydro-privatization-new-ceo-1.4888678

      Energy poverty IS a thing. It’s happening in BC already which is why BC hydro is collecting the Crisis Fund, which ironically comes even off the bills of those who cant pay….

      It was Clark’s doing, but Horgans determined to finish it to electrify the oil and gas fields in north eastern BC, yet another area most Metro Van residents dont see or seem to care about. This is all on Horgan now…along with a growing list of policy changes and legislated actions like exemptions of illegal dams,secrecy of resource subsidies etc.

  5. DISAGREE with your last statement – the SITE C “WRONG” is NOT ALREADY DONE. The biggest lie circulating today by pro-Site C forces is that it is already 25% built and is “gone too far to stop” (Christie’s “past the point of no return” ). In fact, 25% of the BUDGET is GONE, but very little has been done to the land. Sculpting and clearing and work camps and roads but no “works” – no diversion tunnels even which are the first step. THIS DAM IS RIPE FOR THE STOPPING… Become OUTRAGED…

    1. Laila Yuile

      I don’t think that it’s gone too far to stop Wendy..far from it.

      I do think, however, that this government will never stop construction, so deeply is the helm committed to their righteousness on the decision.

      Wendy, the only thing stopping this travesty is Mother Nature. An Elder told me when the spirit of the Peace had enough of mans destruction, she would put an end to it.

      One might wonder, considering the Old Fort Slide…

      Also, the diversion tunnels are started. I posted pics of them in an earlier post and there is mention of the work in the most recent site c update. If I recall correctly there were some issues there too.

      I question why,with all that’s been studied on the geology of this portion of the valley, why they placed the camp where they did.

      I strongly suspect if the camp wasn’t there blocking the way, they would have removed even more of that slope based on the need to mitigate slide risk.

    2. I know you don’t feel that way Laila but wanted to make the point… so that no-one reading that closing line could misinterpret. in addition to Mother Nature, i do think First Nations and Metis still have a very strong voice. If the many Indigenous voices can be unified, Site C could become Canada’s Standing Rock. We are all treaty people… ❤️

  6. Cathy Murphy

    If Site C continues until completion,It is not If, but when this dam Bursts its banks.The ground is not stable enough to build a dam. This will be the worst disaster in BC Ever. Why it has not been Shut down until Independent Engineering Studies are done mystifies me?

    1. Thomas Craig

      I am amased that whoever is supposed to be in charge of this project would let it go ahead with this unstable ground The first nations concerns and the enviroment are one thing but if that dam lets go we have lost the valley spent billions that we will be a lifetime paying and we still wont have any electricity Its a monstrous gamble to say the least

  7. MartinC

    Hydro should have built a gas-fired power plant like Calgary did. It would be completed by now and cost only $1.5 billion. The annual fuel cost would be less than the annual interest charge on a $10 billion loan.
    Instead BC will export its gas as LNG for the rest of the world to burn. Nevermind that a single export terminal will emit double the GHGs of a gas power plant producing Site C’s energy. That’s just to liquefy the gas. Gas burned domestically doesn’t have to be liquefied first. Such hypocrisy!

    1. Laila Yuile

      We had one. It’s called Burrard Thermal.Could have been used for backup if needed.

      The real hypocrisy is how much US thermal coal BC exports while claiming BC lng will save Asia.🙄

  8. Rachel Blatt

    Yawn…. Laila have you ever been here to witness what you are reporting on….. glad you’re getting some attention, but it won’t do much good…

    The River will have take care of itself, at our expense I’m afraid.

    The Bullheaded arrogance and egos pushing forward Crusty’s dream know they won’t be held accountable for spending our tax dollars nor any lives lost to the project. Sure they might face the judges that the gov’ts who approved this project appointed, but a slap on the wrist as they slip through our laws is all they’d ever get. In the meantime they’re enjoying lots of free publicity…..

    1. Laila Yuile

      No Rachel, I haven’t been up since I wrote, because travelling isn’t easy with my son and frankly it costs too much to make it happen. So this is what I do. I hold up the mirror to show what’s going on and even if it doesn’t stop it, at least this is here so one day ‘they’ will look back and say ‘Oh shit, they were right.’
      I know the area well and have spent time up their in my youth. My dad worked on one of the other dams on the Peace and I lived in a tent trailer in Hudsons Hope during the summer to be close to him.
      YAWN tho….🙄

  9. Mark Meiers

    The crooked corruption of site c is un fathomable- every company involved in the site c construction and bc hydro and the ndp govt need to bc held crimminaly accountable for all the goings on at site c- corporate and political greed is the only thing keeping site c moving forward- who is going to be held accountable for this massive expense of public funds with no hope of a reasonable return the general public should be outraged long ago

  10. Mark, the ‘general public’ has no idea where Site C is, or what a fiasco it is. Maybe instead od ‘fiasco’ a better word would be ‘tragedy’. A financial tragedy, an environmental one, a social tragedy, and quite possibly a human tragedy. when the dam bursts and wipes out the whole population downstream it will finally be reported by the media and the ‘general population’ will become enraged. (Remember the outrage when Mt. Polley’s dam failed? Neither do I. There was no loss of life. Nothing to see here. A few ‘environmentalists’ were enraged, but then they usually are.)
    The ‘general population will say “Why didn’t someone say something?” “Where was the oversight, due diligence, engineering studies?” “This could have been prevented!” “Who is responsible?”
    Mark, I’m afraid you can’t rely on the outrage of the general public. It’s up to you, me and the few followers of Laila’s blog to keep this issue alive.
    Then, at least you will be able to say “I told you so!”

  11. e.a.f.

    This is something which is happening in the north of our province and the majority of the population lives in the south. if the dam fails, it won’t impact people in the southern part of the province. they don’t know. they don’t care. we have seen enough bad things happen in our province, country, world and life and everything moves on.

    anyhow in the minds of the politicians and corporations money and humans are a renewable resource.

    A dam is truly never beyond the point of no return, even if its been built and filled. You drain it, remediate it. costs money, but its not that hard to do.

    1. Laila Yuile

      This is totally still stoppable and if O’ Riley had a lick of sense he would order an immediate independent geotechnical review. These rocks and gravel seams aren’t static and they know that. It’s like trying to break a wild stallion. Some things were never meant to be harnessed.

  12. Darrell Williams 9813 river dr

    Face the facts BC Hydro has caused vibrations ground movement damage to the river islands hills roads old fort property value lives dreams hopes all in dismay thanks to site c bc hydro what a waste of tax payers money .all old fort home owners are screwed why. BC hydro / site c just don’t give a Fk now what .

  13. Evidence seems to be the least effective method of convincing any ideologically entrenched entity to action against it’s own interests.We have seen this time and again.Now we are seeing it in a site C dam that most of us thought was dead,decades ago?What happened to all that “run of river” power that we didn’t need?Amazing that Governments in BCcontinue to seek super projects that we just don’t want or need?

  14. nonconfidencevote

    @ Grant G
    “It’s all on Horgan…Partisan much…”
    +++++
    Sorry Grant.
    Its ALL on Horgan?
    But “partisan” has nothing to do with it.
    Clark bragged she would “build to the point of no return” and several billion dollars and thousands of union jobs( The telephone rings, “Hello NDP? Horgan? Do you really want to bite the hand that paid for your political campaign?”) …..

    She got what she wanted.

    A project so large and so expensive ….its unstoppable.
    No one. Politicians, Courts, anyone can or will stop this.
    One can only hope and pray that when Mother Nature finally stops this dam…..Clark will see it on the evening news from a prison cell…….

    If you want to see someone who’s “partisan”…..look in the mirror.

    1. Laila Yuile

      Site c foundation complete, quite an achievement and Acciona beat some records of their own laying concrete ( remember those lucrative time sensitive performance bonuses that,in other projects, have led to deficiencies to be repaired after the fact because of rushing. How good was the quality control on this? And let’s not forget how much extra these performance bonuses led to the price increase)

      http://www.acciona.ca/projects/construction/port-and-hydraulic-works/site-c-clean-energy-project/

      They still have to deal with the instability and weakness of the bedding planes, shears and how its impacting diversion tunnel construction on the north slope, but I’m sure they will find a way to keep going on that too. ( those bonuses WILL come back to haunt us, trust me)

      Good job Acciona! You keep on building an increasingly costly dam attached to a dangerous slope less than one km down from a massive, bedrock failed landslide 🤣

  15. Hey Laila here’s a link to Premier Christy Clark’s 2014 announcement of the benefits of Site C.
    Its title: ‘Site C Construction Animation’

    Looking at images of construction, from all sources available to the public at this date and time, never really show the stage at which the project is at in the overall picture. The video shows all.

    ProvinceofBC
    Published on Dec 16, 2014
    The Site C Clean Energy Project has been approved, it will provide British Columbia with the most affordable, reliable clean power for over 100 years.

    1. Laila Yuile

      Thanks Nvg!!

      One might wonder what impact the freeze thaw cycle will have on that north slop again and diversion tunnel work. Hearing workers aren’t too keen on being in that camp right now.

      Cant say I blame them…

  16. E. Random

    Speaking of awkward… It appears that government regulators in Alberta volunteered to ignore their public duty to report and regulate as required by law and instead volunteered to grossly underestimate and misrepresent reclamation costs by tens of billions of dollars.

    Our once happily rich neighbours suddenly discover that they are billions of dollars poorer as they become aware of the extent to which regulators deceived everyone about post-boom clean up costs.

    Since similar industries exist here could similar devices be used to hide reclamation liabilities? If so who could we turn to? It took years before media reports finally broke the story.

    Perhaps most troubling… An Alberta court’s decision to allow bankrupt companies to disown their liabilities. Will that become law here as well?

    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/11/02/analysis/damage-control-albertas-oilpatch-watchdog-nonsensical

    “While industry has pocketed hundreds of billions in profits from public resources, complicit regulators have enabled $260 billion in unfunded cleanup to accumulate, as National Observer, Global News and the Toronto Star reported this week. Most of these liabilities have been kept off the balance sheets of government and industry.”

    “The bitumen and coal mining liabilities managed under the AER’s Mining Financial Security Program (MFSP) are publicly reported as $27.8 billion, while the regulator privately estimates reclamation will cost $130 billion.”

    “The crude oil, natural gas, and in-situ oilsands liabilities managed under the AER’s Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) program are publicly reported as $30.2 billion, while the regulator privately estimates reclamation will cost another $100 billion.”

    “The cleanup of hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pipeline has never been a part of a regulatory program in Alberta, so the liabilities are not accounted for on company balance sheets, and regulators hold no security for them. The internal AER estimate pegs the pipeline price tag at $30 billion.”

    “The low-ball liabilities publicly reported under the MFSP are supplied by industry without verification by the regulator. And almost all oil and gas producers use the public LLR numbers, shown to be gross underestimates, to state cleanup costs.”

    “What’s more, a case currently before the Supreme Court of Canada could effectively render polluters and their bankers immune from the environmental consequences of their profit. This is the RedWater Energy case in which lower courts in Alberta accepted an extreme interpretation of bankruptcy law that allows bankrupt companies to disown liabilities, dealing a huge blow to regulators’ ability to force polluters to clean up their mess.”

  17. Tim.

    With a temporary road having been built around the slide and the folks allowed back home to Old Fort, this now becomes a “nothing to see here, move along.”

    We who watch know better and also know this is not the last we will hear of Old Fort and Site C.

    I certainly would not be sleeping well, if I lived up there.

  18. E. Random

    Tim.

    Funny you should mention Mount Polley…

    You might think that Alberta’s RedWater Energy case now before The Supreme Court would be sufficient disincentive to stop BC’s government from selectively ignoring its own laws. This consideration assumes that the Supreme Court will find against Alberta’s lower courts.

    The problem? Lower courts in Alberta accepted an extreme interpretation of bankruptcy law that allows bankrupt companies to disown liabilities, dealing a huge blow to regulators’ ability to force polluters to clean up their mess. All this for RedWater Energy’s benefit..

    The question? Why should any corporation ever benefit from exemption from environmental laws anywhere in Canada? Why create such laws and then say well this time we don’t need it? Why even consider ignoring already existing laws let alone make such exemptions common practice retroactively?

    https://theprovince.com/business/energy/british-columbia-faces-lawsuit-fracking-dams-exempted-from-environmental-review/wcm/bdd1ab8e-aa48-4a08-a44a-f0153c477e63

    “A conservation group is suing the B.C. government for exempting two oilpatch dams from environmental rules years after the dams were built.”

    “It seems like the government was really playing catch-up,” Olivia French, the lawyer handling the lawsuit for the B.C. Sierra Club, said Monday. “Progress Energy acted with a bit of disregard for B.C.’s laws — one of those typical, ’Ask for forgiveness, not for permission’ sort of positions.”

    “The lawsuit asks that the exemptions given the two dams be revoked.”

    “French said the issue is becoming too common in the province’s northern natural gas fields”

    “It just seems that these dams, which were built without licences and authorizations, should have been subject to a higher level of scrutiny,” said French.

    “The B.C. government’s response to this sets what may be a dangerous precedent, which may encourage other companies to follow in Progress Energy’s footprints.”

    “French points to a 2017 study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which found 13 other Progress Energy dams were being retroactively reviewed by B.C.’s energy regulator. That report suggested there were “dozens” of other large, unlicensed dams operating in the province.”

    “Records obtained by the (centre) indicate that the Oil and Gas Commission, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the BC Environmental Assessment Office are all aware of numerous unauthorized dams, and that they may contravene key provincial laws and regulations,” the report says.”

    If the Supreme Court agrees with Alberta, that preferred companies can escape legal responsibility for damages by declaring bankruptcy protection, what legal remedy or financial disincentive remains to penalize continued negligence leading to mass environmental destruction? What remains to protect the enforcement of law if any environmental statute anywhere in Canada can be waived at a minister’s whim?

    Please advise….

  19. kennylad

    Looks like a serious safety concern pertaining to the ground integrity under the workers camp. Looks like folks are questioning Worksafe’s role here, and justifiably so. I sure am. Very very much.

  20. It looks to me as if the ground water is percolating through a porous strata under the camp. No problem, unless it is transporting silt or clay particles (easily determined by sampling the ground water outflow.) Of major concern is the stability of the soil through which the groundwater travels.
    Surely their competent engineering staff has oodles of bore hole data to prove the safety of the foundation?
    I’m still counting on Mother Nature to wash the whole issue away.

  21. kennylad

    Horgan must have had it all planned out in secret with his inner circle and special interest and past donators, to let the dam continue if he made it to forming a government. The game was rigged. All the studies and going through the BCUC process at that time was all a waste of our taxes, but all political gamemanship of smoke and mirrors for proceeding with Site C. Another no good self server and butt kisser to his flavour favourites whom rubbed his party’s back a long time ago. The general public always comes last to this breed of parasite politicians. Horgan and Christy Clark and their lieutenants are cut outs from the same dirty cloth. He had his Point of No Return all ready in place. And Andrew Weaver stayed in the shadows hoping and praying he would make it to his dream of getting Pro Rep implemented while turning a blind eye to the continuation of the Site C crime scene. The piggy trough is filled with the peoples money and will continue being filled long after the dam is finished. Isn’t it great that we pay for these bums to screw us over.

    1. nonconfidencevote

      Yep.
      “None of the Above” should be an option on all ballots.
      And when NotA wins…….
      All politicians should be sent packing and let an accounting firm run the show with one rule.
      Balance the books…..

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