Former Edenville Dam operator Boyce Hydro facing possible $15 million fine

It has been almost four months since the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams. The...
It has been almost four months since the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams. The resulting catastrophic flooding caused around $175 million in damage. But that amount is just a chunk of what the Four Lakes Task Force estimates will cost to rebuild the dams and restore Wixom and Sanford Lakes.(WJRT)
Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 4:14 PM EST
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MIDLAND COUNTY Mich. (WJRT) - The former operator of the partially collapsed Edenville Dam is facing a big fine.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees dams, issued an order and penalty for Boyce Hydro to pay $15 million. The commission cited Boyce for failing to act on federal orders after the Tittabawassee River side of the dam failed on May 19, 2020.

The dam collapse caused record flooding along the Tittabawassee River from Gladwin County to Sanford, where the Sanford Dam also failed, through Midland and into Saginaw Township.

“The businesses still need help, the homeowners still need help. We need funds to go towards the rebuilding of the dams,” said Sanford Village President Dolores Porte.

Boyce Hydro declared bankruptcy after the Edenville and Sanford dams failed. The Four Lakes Task Force took ownership of the Edenville, Sanford, Secord and Smallwood dams last fall.

Porte questions the timing of the order and penalty.

“It would be nice to hear from a federal perspective, what they think the value of that is or why FERC is now pursuing that track given you know the bankruptcy and all of what you know all of what we already have underway and all the claims that are already against Boyce,” she said

The village of Sanford was one of the hardest hits areas. In the order, the commission said it will take steps to ensure that any penalty assessed against Boyce Hydro does not threaten recovery by community members who were harmed by the dam breaches and floods.

“Well I’m concerned about that because Boyce is already filed for bankruptcy and there are already a number of people who have filed a claim against voices business for money that’s owed to them, and some of the homeowners are in civil suits and the concern I have is distracting from the task at hand, which is to take care of the current creditors,” Porte said.

FERC also directed Boyce Hydro to show cause why it should not be assessed a civil penalty of $15 million.

“Yes, it could have been prevented fall the right people are sitting at the table getting all the right things done. It’s unfortunate,” Porte said.

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