A city engineer stands by the site of the recent landslide at Canyon Springs. (Courtesy Photo)

A city engineer stands by the site of the recent landslide at Canyon Springs. (Courtesy Photo)

Snoqualmie declares emergency, acts to prevent further landslide damage to city water source

Updated: Jan. 22, 2018 at 11:25 a.m.

After a recent discovery of possible landslide danger to one of Snoqualmie’s water sources, the Snoqualmie City Council voted Jan. 8 to declare the situation an emergency, in order to quickly select the engineers to develop recommendations for methods to address the danger.

The city of Snoqualmie uses a spring box water collection facility, Canyon Springs, along the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River as a source of more than 1,500 acre-feet of water per year. Community Development Director Mark Hofman told the Record last week that when public works employees were checking out the area just before Christmas, they discovered evidence of a recent landslide.

The landslide, which was determined to have happened in November, was about 150 feet across and 90 feet in height on the hillside. Loose soil fell into the river and was washed away. At the site, two pieces of old pipe were exposed on the face of the hill with the newer replacement pipe only about six feet away from the top of the slide.

The danger to the city lies in the possibility of a bigger landslide, cutting off the river entirely and breaking pipes used to collect water, putting an important part of the city’s water supply at risk. According to a city analysis, the slide has shifted the pipe alignment in a way that it could break if any other land movement happens.

Jeff Hamlin, Snoqualmie project engineer, raised other considerations about the Canyon Springs area in his presentation for the council, including the trail access to the area which supports foot traffic and improvements needed for vehicle access. He also noted that long-term solutions may require upgrades and improvements to be made to the spring collection.

The initial findings detailed in Hamlin’s presentation state that “failure is imminent within a couple of years” and because future slides and slope movement will occur, stabilization methods should be used while the city pursues a long-term solution.

The emergency declaration allowed the city to hire contractors to address the problem without going through the lengthy process of advertising for bids. The city selected Aspect Consulting and RH2 Engineering to go out to the site to research the area and come back with recommended actions.

The city’s current water pipe is “endangered, but it’s not exposed,” Hofman said, adding that the council’s action was to approve research into the problem, not design a solution.

“They wanted to embark on some research, get Aspect Consulting on board to come out and investigate what any sort of temporary fixes would be, so we wouldn’t wait until that pipe is exposed or broken,” Hofman said. “The request to the council was not give us to design (but to) get some experts out there and gauge where we are at.”

The city contracted Aspect Consulting for site reconnaissance, geologic review, preliminary geotechnical evaluations and follow up reports for a maximum cost of $20,000. RH2 Engineering was chosen to research and develop recommendations for actions to address the short-term dangers of the area, as well as a comprehensives plan for a long-term solution. The cost of their work is also not to exceed $20,000.

Hofman said the city wants to be as proactive as possible in order to avoid a situation in which Snoqualmie citizens turn on the tap, but no water comes out.

In a Jan. 16 press release, the city indicated there was no danger to private property, homes, or residents in the area. In addition to Canyon Springs, the city has two other water sources at North Wellfield near Tokul Road and South Wellfield close to downtown Snoqualmie. If the Canyon Spring line fails, those water sources will face a heavier burden and water conservation measures may become necessary.

The resolution was passed in a six to one vote with Councilmember Peggy Shepard voting against. Shepard said she voted against the resolution because she had requested to go to the site herself, but did not receive a response from city staff. She said she would have preferred to see the site in person before voting.

A map of the Canyon Springs area marking the location of the recent landslide. (Courtesy Photo)

A map of the Canyon Springs area marking the location of the recent landslide. (Courtesy Photo)

More in News

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options.
Elder abuse cases are on the rise in Washington

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

The King County Library System Foundation is awarded a grant from Boeing

KCLSF receives an $80,000 grant from the Boeing Company

The Centralia Power Plant is a coal-burning plant owned by TransAlta which supplies 380 megawatts to Puget Sound Energy. It is located in Lewis County and slated to shut down by 2025. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo
National report outlines climate change’s course for the Northwest

More fires, floods and drought appear to be on their way for Washington state.

Mike Seal, left, and his son Ryan are owners of the Sigillo Cellars winery which is hoping to build a new production facility in downtown Snoqualmie. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Sigillo Cellars closes purchase on King Street Lot

Sigillo Cellars have purchased the vacant lot on the corner SE King Street in downtown Snoqualmie.

Legislators are working on several housing bills leading up to their 2019 session, including condo liability reform. Median sales prices of townhomes and low- to mid-rise condos were consistently and substantially lower than for single-family homes. Image courtesy of PSRC
Area legislators to focus on housing policy, funding in 2019 session

Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) is sponsoring a condo liability reform bill.

King County adds 80 acres to Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area

Area governments and nonprofits purchased the remaining 80 acres of the 250 acre preservation area.

Police say porch piracy is primarily a crime of opportunity. Many criminals will see a package as they pass by and make quick, easy money. Kailan Manandic, photo illustration
‘Porch pirates’ plunder local packages

Eastside police departments spoke on the ‘porch pirate’ problem and ask locals to report the crime.

U-cut and pre-cut Christmas trees around the Snoqualmie Valley

As the holiday season approaches, several Snoqualmie Valley businesses are gearing up… Continue reading

The Giving Tree program marks season of giving in the Valley

The Giving Tree, a Kiwanis gift donation program, is returning to the Valley this month.

The Eastside strike team consisted of a dozen firefighters from local cities. They assisted with small brush fires and watched over a small community near Malibu as a fire raged on a nearby hillside. Photos courtesy of Jeff Storey and Dave McDaniel
Local firefighters aid in California wildfires

Firefighters from Eastside Fire & Rescue, Snoqualmie, Fall City and Duvall fire departments assisted.

Romaine lettuce, beef recalled just before Thanksgiving

23 people have been infected with a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in 11 states.

Snoqualmie Council considers denying property tax increase, discusses budget fund allocations

The Snoqualmie City Council discussed not taking a 1 percent property tax increase for 2019.