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The Edenville and Sanford dam failures, 6 months later

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 5:31 PM EST
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SANFORD, Mich. (WJRT) - The Four Lakes Task Force is buying the Edenville, Sanford, Smallwood and Secord dams from bankrupt Boyce Hydro.

The task force expects to take control of the dams in December, paying $1.5 million to acquire the four dams.

The announcement comes as the community reaches a milestone. It’s been six months since an historic flood swept through parts of Mid Michigan following the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams, causing millions of dollars in damage in Midland and Gladwin counties.

”We spent the whole day watching the water rise, pulling things out of the water trying to get things out of people’s businesses,” said Village of Sanford President Dolores Porte.

She could have never imagined the kind of damage that would take place that day in the Village of Sanford, following the failures of Edenville and Sanford dams.

“It’s hard to fathom what we found, I woke up the next morning to watch a guy walking through water up to his neck, trying to find his home down there. I don’t think I was expecting that. And the amount of debris against the dam that were people’s homes, their boats, their jet skis, their sheds, their roofs. It was unimaginable,” Porte said.

A lot has happened since that day. The debris by the dam has been removed, businesses are reopening and homes are being rebuilt. It’s a community on the slow road to recovery.

“Every time I turn around someone is here, helping with something and offering to comeback to help. So I feel that the community is very blessed and I’m honored to be part of it. You saw the dam and if you it again today, Cheri, the water down there is crystal clear, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Porte said.

She said the entire community is grateful for the outreach and she can’t wait to see the progress they’ll make over the next six months.

“A lot of people feared when the big debris pile left and we went into the rebuild mode, that people would forget and I want to tell the public thank you for not forgetting about us and continuing to come and support us,” Porte said.

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