FLINT (WJRT) - (02/15/17) - California isn't the only state with a dangerous dam; there is a dam in Mid-Michigan that could fail and cause a lot of damage.
They've been talking about replacing the Hamilton Dam in Flint for years. It's classified as a high hazard dam, and that means if it collapsed, it could cause widespread damage downstream.
"You can see there's lots of space where there's exposed re-bar. The concrete is just chipping off. There are holes in it. The deck that goes across the dam for the workers is very dangerous for them," said Rebecca Fedewa, Flint River Watershed Coalition executive director.
A few years ago, Congress appropriated money for the removal of the dam, but it was spent by the Army Corps of Engineers on studies. Water behind the dam has been drawn down to reduce strain on it.
The river bed behind the dam is contaminated with toxins and Consumers Energy will begin cleaning that up soon.
The Flint River Watershed Coalition has drawn up plans for what they would like to see if the dam is ever removed.
Engineers have designed a series of channels that would make it fun for kayakers and canoeists. A number of small beaches could be created for quite a distance downstream. Fish would be able to swim upstream.
First, money has to be found to pay for the removal of the dam.
"Genesee County Parks has taken over the project. We have all the pre-engineering done for the vision of the river that the Watershed Coalition has. Parks has taken it over and they're working on getting all the financing together, all the permits. They'll be managing the construction of the project," Fedewa said.