Dam Task Force releases latest findings on Michigan’s dams

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:36 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) -(10/01/20) -It’s been nearly 5-months since the collapse of the Edenville and Sanford dams.

Which caused historic flooding and millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses.

Thursday - the Dam Safety Task Force released the latest overview of their findings of Michigan’s Dam Safety Program.

“We suspect that there are many that there are many dams in Michigan are old enough, that they are probably isn’t any engineering documents on file that would show how they were constructed,” said a Dam Safety Task Force official.

That was one of the findings in the ongoing investigation into the state’s dams--- following the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams. Michigan has more than 25-hundred dams. Of those, 1153 are regulated by either the state or federal government.

Following the May 19th failures, The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy-- asked the Association of State Dam Safety Officials to perform a thorough evaluation of Michigan’s Dam Safety Program.

Some of what they found:

Michigan has not invested in safety of its dams for many decades and the needs have grown as the dams have aged.

They also found that the DSP is extremely understaffed to perform the mission of dam safety as mandated by the legislation, rules, and best practice.

The review found that rigorous enforcement of dam safety violations is seldom used and that this has existed for decades.

“We’re recommend that you create a dam safety emergency fund. Make sure that doesn’t revert back to the general fund at the end of budget cycle. The purpose of that fund is to mitigate any hazard present during an incident or an emergency, like Edenville should the owner should fail to act in a timely way,” said a Dam Safety Task Force official.

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