Beaver resident Richard Mossman looks over the trees and debris that came down in the slide. Photo by Lonnie Archibald

Beaver resident Richard Mossman looks over the trees and debris that came down in the slide. Photo by Lonnie Archibald

Landslide near Lake Pleasant

  • Wed Feb 5th, 2020 3:30pm
  • News

Small water system destroyed by debris

BEAVER — A 100-foot-wide landslide has knocked out a small water system near Beaver.

The debris flow stopped short of homes but caused minor damage to some outbuildings, said Joe Smillie, state Department of Natural Resources spokesman.

The slide moved down a steep gully in forested terrain just west of Lake Pleasant at about 1 a.m. Sunday.

DNR officials estimated that 11,000 cubic yards of material, mostly clay, and boulders, slid 2,000 feet down the hill.

“It was about 100 feet wide and about 15 feet thick,” Smillie said in a Tuesday interview.

The slide destroyed a water system that serves seven homes in the Lake Pleasant area, Smillie said.

The gravity-fed water system was updated about eight-to-nine years ago when those on the system pooled money and a cement block cistern was replaced with a 3,000-gallon fiberglass tank, according to Barbara Mossman, who lives nearby.

She uses the system but also has a well. She said that the fiberglass tank was spared but the intake for the system will need to be re-established and the water line replaced.

Mossman described the slide as substantial.

“A big log had come down and also diverted the creek and water was running into neighboring yards,” she said.

She said the log was removed and the creek was now running near its normal creek bed.

”We have lived here 30 years, and this is the first time anything like this has happened,” Mossman said.

Vic Janda, also on the water system, said he didn’t hear anything because of the heavy rain and high wind.

“But I knew something was up. Water was running down my driveway and I could see a mudflow in my field.”

Estimates for a timeline for repairs to the water system were unknown Tuesday. For now, the surviving fiberglass tank remains about three-fourths full of water, so those on the system have water for the time being.

Forty-year-old trees that stood on DNR and Rayonier property were swept up by the slide, Smillie said.

“We went out to see make sure there weren’t any forest practice issues related to it,” Smillie said.

“There weren’t.”

DNR officials said the slide presents a possible risk to public safety and public resources, according to an agency datasheet.

Mike Leavitt with Rayonier reportedly had been on the scene seeking to establish land ownership for the source of the slide.

January was the wettest month on record for Forks.

The total January precipitation measured at Quillayute Airport was 30.78 inches, the National Weather Service said. The normal amount for January is 14.61 inches.

“There’s just been so much rain in that area over the last month,” Smillie said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected]

Christi Baron is the editor of the Forks Forum, which is part of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at [email protected]