A mid-Michigan dam that collapsed under heavy rains Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands, had its license revoked in 2018 over concerns it could not handle big floods.
The Free Press reports:
Federal regulators in 2018 revoked the hydro-power generating license for the collapsed Edenville Dam in Midland and Gladwin counties, citing years of failure by the dam's owners to address safety problems — especially the dam's ability to withstand a major flood.
"We take this action because of Boyce Hydro Power, LLC’s longstanding failure to increase the project’s spillway capacity to safely pass flood flows, as well as its failure to comply with its license, the Commission’s regulations, and a June 15, 2017, Compliance Order," (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wrote Sept. 10, 2018.)
"Commission staff has attempted to ensure the licensee corrected noncompliance issues at this project since Boyce Hydro’s acquisition of the license in 2004 — a period of over 14 years," FERC commissioners wrote in their September 2018 license revocation order.
Towns near the Tittabawassee River were ordered to evacuate Tuesday night after the Edenville Dam breached, as did another operated by the same company. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the flood is expected to put downtown Midland under nine feet of water.
Here's a one-minute video from WDIV photojournalist Tim Pamplin:
And from a Detroit Free Press reporter:
This is what midland looks like this morning pic.twitter.com/daQYfkOe3I— Kathy Gray (@michpoligal) May 20, 2020