Gov. Whitmer requests investigation of dam breach that caused massive flooding in mid-Michigan

Michigan department directed to investigate cause, dam safety policy reform

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a news conference May 27, 2020. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a news conference on Wednesday to provide an update on the state’s response to the historic flooding event in Midland County.

During her appearance Whitmer announced that she directed Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to investigate the cause of the Edenville and Sanford dam failures last week, which resulted in a massive flooding emergency in mid-Michigan.

“This flooding forced thousands to evacuate their homes, destroyed public infrastructure, ruined homes and businesses, and caused major natural resource damage,” said Governor Whitmer. “We must ensure accountability and prevent a disaster like this from happening again. I want to thank the first responders and volunteers who have stepped up to help in this time of unprecedented need.”

In addition to the probe Whitmer has also asked EGLE to review policies and budgets related to dam safety and recommend reformations to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

On Tuesday, four Midland County homeowners have filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) seeking damages and other relief after the Edenville Dam failure that caused major flooding and extensive damage to their homes, boats, outbuildings, docks, canopies and other property.

A 28-page complaint was filed in the Michigan Court of Claims by Edenville, Mich. residents David and Andrew Krieger and James and Margaret Sperling. The Kriegers and Sperlings own adjacent properties and homes on the banks of the Tittabawassee River less than a mile south of the Edenville Dam.

Whitmer extended the state of emergency for Midland County to include three additional counties last weekend. U.S. President Donald Trump approved a federal emergency declaration for Midland County last Thursday.


About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.