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New report confirms Edenville Dam didn't meet state standards before failure

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new reportconfirms that the Edenville Damdidn’t meet state standards before it failed in May.

The study was conducted by the Spicer Group, a Saginaw-based engineering firm, on behalf of theFour Lakes Task Force, a local group that was in the process of buying Edenville and three other dams at the time of the disaster.

The study found the Edenville Dam was in “fair to poor” condition when inspected months before the May 19 breach. 

The study’s authors concluded the dam did not provide adequate capacity to pass the ‘Probable Maximum Flood event’ standard sufficiently to meet state safety requirements.

The report focused on the need to increase the spillway capacity of the dam and bring it into compliance with both state and federal requirements.  

The dam failed after days of heavy rain. The resulting flood damaged thousands of homes and businesses, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Gov. Whitmer plans to request a federal major disaster declaration for counties affected by flooding in May.

Earlier this week, Michigan’s Attorney General filed suitagainst the owner of the Edenville Dam, Boyce Hydro. The lawsuit is seeking compensation and civil fines, along with cleanup and restoration of damages caused by the company’s alleged negligence.

The dam owner insists government regulators are to blame for the dam’s failure.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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