LANSING, Mich. — One year after the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said it continues to assist the community in recovery efforts and planning for the future of the affected communities.
Wednesday marks a year since the dams failed during a torrential rain event, displacing thousands of residents, damaging businesses and livelihoods, destroying property and natural resources, and illuminating the chronic problem of deferred maintenance of Michigan’s infrastructure.
Most recently, EGLE oversaw emergency work to draw down water levels in the Tobacco River upstream of the remaining portion of the Edenville Dam to help protect downstream residents and properties from further damage during spring flooding. That work builds on EGLE’s continuing efforts to assist, which have included water quality monitoring, helping local officials expedite debris removal, assisting with restoration of drinking water infrastructure, assessing and mitigating continued natural resource damages, and assisting communities in disaster relief applications among many other activities.
Completed and ongoing reviews of EGLE’s dam safety program include:
- The Association of State Dam Safety Officials’ (ASDSO) peer review of EGLE’s program
- The Michigan Dam Safety Task Force’s review and report
- EGLE’s Preliminary Report on the Edenville Dam Failure
- The ongoing independent Forensic Investigation into the cause of the dam failures
With support from the Michigan Legislature, the reorganized Dam Safety Unit within EGLE’s Water Resources Division will soon have five full-time-equivalent staffers, doubling the resources available at the time of the dam failures last year. At that time, the state had two inspectors to oversee more than 1,000 state-regulated dams. Ideal staffing for the state of Michigan, according to the ASDSO’s recommendations and supported by the Task Force’s report, would be 11 full-time personnel devoted solely to dam safety.