FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2020
Nick Assendelft, Public Information Officer, AssendelftN@Michigan.gov, 517-388-3135
Because Boyce Hydro LLC has failed to comply with a federal court order, state investigators and contractors will begin this week an assessment of the remaining portions of the failed Edenville Dam in Midland County. The assessment will determine whether additional work is necessary to ensure the dam’s safety and stability to protect the residents of Mid-Michigan who were affected by flooding due to the collapse of Boyce’s Edenville and Sanford dams.
On June 15, 2020, federal District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney ordered Boyce Hydro to perform the assessment by July 24, 2020. The order required Boyce Hydro to assess the stability of the remaining structure on the Tobacco River side of the dam and recommend measures necessary to ensure the safety of downstream residents and property.
Boyce Hydro, which declared bankruptcy July 31, did not complete the assessment. The company provided a report on the dam’s condition, but the report acknowledged it did not perform the assessment the court had ordered. “It should be noted that this Report does not address” identifying any deficiencies that may pose a risk to the remaining dam structure, natural resources, and/or public transportation, as ordered by the June 15, 2020 Temporary Restraining Order, according to the report by TRC Engineers Michigan Inc. that was submitted to the court.
“With Boyce in bankruptcy and unresponsive to both the court’s order and our inquiries, we are going forward with the needed engineering assessment,” said Teresa Seidel, director of the Water Resources Division of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). “Residents and local officials will see an increase in activity and personnel on the site, and we want them to be aware of what’s happening and why.”
The state’s engineering assessment will contain recommendations and designs for mitigation measures to address ongoing dam safety, transportation and natural resource issues at Edenville Dam, and are expected to be implemented this year.
Personnel from EGLE, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and contractors from AECOM will participate in the assessment. EGLE has authority to perform the assessment under Part 315, Dam Safety, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The statute grants the power to order and enact investigations and studies, as well as access to property for dam safety concerns.
The assessment is separate from both an independent third-party investigation into the causes of the dam’s failure, and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials’ examination of EGLE’s Dam Safety Program, which are being conducted in the wake of the Edenville failure.
Concurrently, the Michigan Dam Safety Task Force will provide recommendations to help prevent future dam failures. The team of state and federal agencies, local governments, and affected stakeholders – expected to be finalized soon – will review dam safety issues in Michigan and provide recommendations to help prevent future dam failures.
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