Welcome to Pinky River.
The famous Campbell River received a makeover – in pink – Tuesday as BC Hydro officials conducted dye testing throughout the day.
“See! Look, you can already see where the pink dye is hanging around in the back eddies,” says Stephen Watson, pointing to the swirling pink water just above Elk Falls.
At precisely 9:45 a.m., a crew deposited a harmless dye, Rhodamine, in the river, between Moose and Elk Falls. A helicopter, hovering overhead, monitored the dye’s progress over the 25-metre falls and into the canyon below.
The river turned bright pink directly below the release point, faded to a salmon-pink as it plunged over the falls, and then dissipated to a greyish colour as it proceeded further down the canyon.
The dye testing is part of BC Hydro’s proposed $1 billion project to replace the aging John Hart Generating Station. The seismic upgrade portion of the project would include replacing the three old pipelines, which carry water to the generating station, with tunnels mined through bedrock.
The project still requires official approval, but BC Hydro has diligently moved forward on planning and studies.
The dye testing – which may resume Thursday if more testing is required – will allow officials to accumulate data required for future environmental assessments and how to plan for various levels of flow when excess water is spilled into the river system.
More importantly, it is expected to provide a better understanding of fish habitat. The river is home to many species of salmon and trout.
To learn more about the entire project, BC Hydro is holding a public open house today (Wednesday) from 4-8 p.m., at the Coast Discovery Inn.