Edenville Dam Failure
EGLE assumed regulatory authority for the 96-year-old Edenville Dam in late 2018 after its license to generate hydropower was revoked by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. EGLE was in the process of reviewing federal records and conducted an initial inspection in October of 2018, finding that it was in fair structural condition. That preliminary assessment was not intended to determine if the dam met state safety standards. EGLE had concerns that the dam might not have enough spillway capacity – which allows water to flow out of the Wixom Lake impoundment –to meet state requirements, and therefore ordered a comprehensive structural assessment of the dam to help determine if it met state spillway, and other, safety requirements. That study had not been received by EGLE prior to the dam failure.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered EGLE to lead an investigation into the causes of the Edenville failure, and to recommend ways that policies, practices, budgeting and other reforms might enhance dam safety in Michigan. EGLE has already launched the investigation, and looks forward to exploring ways Michiganders can be better protected from such risks.
Michigan has 2,523 dams. Of those, 1,153 are regulated by either state (1,061 state) or federal (92) agencies. Some 1,370 smaller dams are not regulated. Of regulated dams, 803 are privately owned and 350 are publicly owned.
Lack of investment in dam infrastructure is not uncommon in Michigan dams, which have suffered from deferred maintenance over the course of decades. That, combined with the historic rainfall and flooding, were factors in the Edenville Dam failure.
|Michigan Regulated Dams Statistics
Edenville Dam Failure FAQs - Revised 5/29
- June 3, 2020: In Midland disaster's aftermath, Michigan EGLE deploys staff to assist in cleanup, investigation, testing and risk assessment
- May 28, 2020: MDOT Shares 2020 Bay Region Flooding - Map with Photos
- May 27, 2020: Governor Whitmer Directs EGLE to Investigate Failures of Edenville, Sanford Dams
- May 27, 2020: Flooding Impacts on Septic Systems and Private Wells
- May 22, 2020: Information on Michigan-regulated Dams Available Through New Interactive Map
- May 22, 2020: State Guidelines Issued to Assist Midland-area Residents with Clean Up
- May 20, 2020: New MDOT GIS map shows flooding impacts on state and local roads across Gladwin, Midland, and Saginaw counties
- May 20, 2020: DNR conservation officers evacuate people and pets during Midland County flood
|5/1/2020||State's lawsuit against Boyce Hydro Power|
|10/8/2018||Inspection report, October 2018|
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited Midland on May 27, 2020 to survey the damage from the flooding and receive an update from the team on the ground. The Governor has directed EGLE to investigate what caused the Edenville and Sanford dams to fail. See below for photos from the governor's visit.