What caused the Edenville Dam to fail in May of 2020? Report blames failure on ‘static liquefaction’

Flooding devastated mid-Michigan

What caused Boyce Hydro’s Edenville Dam to fail on May 19 of 2020? Last year mid-Michigan saw severe weather that contributed to the failures of two dams, causing devastating flooding in Midland County.
What caused Boyce Hydro’s Edenville Dam to fail on May 19 of 2020? Last year mid-Michigan saw severe weather that contributed to the failures of two dams, causing devastating flooding in Midland County.

MIDLAND COUNTY, Mich. – What caused Boyce Hydro’s Edenville Dam to fail on May 19 of 2020?

Last year mid-Michigan saw severe weather that contributed to the failures of two dams, causing devastating flooding in Midland County.

Both the Edenville Dam, located on Wixom Lake, and the Sanford Dam, located on the Tittabawassee River, were breached that day and flooded nearby areas, destroying homes, businesses, roads, and infrastructure.

A new report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the cause was a rare event called static liquefaction. They said loose sand at the base of the dam could not hold back the water after days of heavy rain.

Attorney Ven Johnson represents hundreds of people in mid-Michigan who were impacted by the flooding. He said he will be adding FERC as a defendant in a lawsuit. He also pointed out that federal authorities handed oversight of the dam to the state of Michigan.

Watch the video above for the full report.



Midland awarded $5.5M in federal funding for flooding disaster relief

The federal government has approved millions of dollars in disaster relief for part of central Michigan impacted by flooding last year caused by severe weather and dam failures.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced that the federal government has awarded the city of Midland nearly $5.5 million to assist with recovery and relief efforts following catastrophic flooding in May of 2020. The city can reportedly use the $5,476,035 to strengthen infrastructure in an effort to “reduce future flooding,” and to help fortify structures ahead of any potential disasters.

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About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.