USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The Issue: A large, clay-rich active landslide on the western flank of Sumas Mountain in Whatcom County, Washington, is a significant source of sediment to Swift Creek and the salmon-bearing Sumas River. The landslide contains naturally occurring serpentinite that weathers to chrysotile asbestos and elevated levels of metals. The asbestos load in water as well as deposits along the banks and flood plain of Swift Creek and the Sumas River present human health concerns.
How the USGS will help: The USGS will evaluate sediment load, downstream transport, and spatial extent of sediment being deposited along Swift Creek and the Sumas River. The USGS will characterize input of sediment into the Sumas River from Swift Creek, monitor and quantify the sediment flux down the Sumas River, evaluate the potential for distribution of asbestos, and analyze the geomorphology and hydrology of the Sumas River watershed to assess concentration and transport potential of asbestos downstream to the Canadian border.
Latest Gage Readings*:
|*Data are provisional and subject to revision.||
|SUMAS RIVER AT MASSEY ROAD NEAR NOOKSACK, WA||No real-time data available at this time|
|SUMAS RIVER AT SOUTH PASS ROAD AT NOOKSACK, WA||No real-time data available at this time|
|SUMAS RIVER NEAR SUMAS, WA||No real-time data available at this time|
|*Data are provisional and subject to revision.|
|NOOKSACK RIVER AT NORTH CEDARVILLE, WA||No real-time data available at this time|