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Scuba divers brave Princeton’s Tulameen River to remove flood debris

FortisBC employed specialized firm to cut out gas pipe destroyed in November

A complicated and potentially risky operation was performed in the Tulameen River in Princeton, April 21.

A FortisBC crew, employing an underwater recovery company, removed a natural gas pipe from the water which was destroyed in the November 2021 flood.

Scuba divers descended the murky and churning river to remove approximately 100 feet of the gas line. It was sticking out of the water near the Bridge of Dreams.

Colin Bloor, the onsite supervisor for Canpac Marine Services, told the Spotlight: “Oh yes, this can definitely be dangerous.”

He stressed that all the firm’s workers are highly trained and every procedure necessary for safety is executed on each job.

Nicole Brown, spokesperson for FortisBC, explained the destroyed gas pipe was replaced late last year, restoring service to the community.

“The remaining section of damaged pipe had surfaced earlier this year, and needed to be removed for public safety. There was a short window to do this work between spring thaw and freshet,” Brown said.

The operation was a success.

“Having an underwater dive team cut and weld the damaged pipe was unique for FortisBC and it was the safest and quickest method for this situation,” said Brown.

“It required collaboration with the Town of Princeton, environmental groups, permit holders and community stakeholders.”

Related: B.C. deploys helicopters to extract debris from flood-struck rivers

Related: Roads, buses, trailers and backhoes litter Princeton flood area

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