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Ucluelet First Nation declares state of emergency after barge crashes into water line

Work underway to repair broken water line
Work is underway to repair a broken water line that has cut the Ucluelet First Nation off from its water supply. (District of Ucluelet photo)

A barge crashed into a submerged water line in the Ucluelet inlet on Monday, cutting off the Ucluelet First Nation’s water supply.

Residents of the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu are advised not to consume or cook with any tap water until further notice and the First Nation has declared a state of emergency.

Ucluelet First Nation president Charles McCarthy issued a statement clarifying that boiling water will not make it safe and bottled water is being delivered to Hitacu residents.

He added the water is also not safe for bathing or showering, brushing teeth, washing fruits or vegetables, washing dishes or giving to pets.

The state of emergency is currently set to expire on Jan. 31.

A dive team investigated the water line break and found a broken seam and kink in the line, according to an advisory posted by the District of Ucluelet.

On Tuesday, the district’s public works team worked with the dive team to retrieve the damaged line, which was cut at the damaged section and brought onshore for inspection.

“The line will be assessed and repaired as starting Wednesday. After repairs are complete, the line will be barged back into the inlet and prepared to be reattached, anchored and returned to service,” the advisory states.

“Currently, there is no direct water supply to Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ. A water supply truck has been regularly hauling water to Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ from Ucluelet’s water system at Lost Shoe Creek. Work on the damaged water line is progressing well and our public works team is moving quickly to re-establish this critical line back to service and re-supplying water to Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ,” the advisory states.

While the repair work is underway, Ucluelet’s Pat Leslie Boat Launch will remain closed to the public.

The break also caused Ucluelet’s water to be heavily discoloured due to significant manganese sediment, though the district believes that discolouration will not continue during the repairs.

Any Ucluelet residents still experiencing brown water are advised to flush their home lines using an exterior tap and run the water until it clears.

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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