Dams break in Michigan

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Chilidog
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Dams break in Michigan

#1

Post by Chilidog »

Two dams collapsed in Michigan.
Residents were ordered to evacuate from several cities in central Michigan, as rising floodwaters overwhelmed two dams near Midland, a city of 43,000 on the Tittabawassee River.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency Tuesday evening and called on thousands of people in affected areas to make their way to the homes of friends, relatives or emergency shelters.

“In the next 12 to 15 hours downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water,” Gov. Whitmer said. Other areas and assets affected included the village of Sanford and a Dow Chemical plant in the area. Midland County is about two hours northwest of Detroit.

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#2

Post by Grumpy Old Guy »

Ordering the people to get to higher ground is illegal. They have a constitutional right to drown.
Edit: All kidding aside, that is serious stuff. Aging dams are a serious public safety issue that has been ignored for years.

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Chilidog
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#3

Post by Chilidog »

Another reason why privatization of infrastructure is a bad idea.

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neonzx
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#4

Post by neonzx »

Chilidog wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:22 am
Another reason why privatization of infrastructure is a bad idea.
Privatized? :shock: I was under the belief that dams, like bridges, were overseen by the Army Corp of Engineers?
To which Trump replied, Fuck the law. I don't give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#5

Post by GreatGrey »

neonzx wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 10:04 am
Chilidog wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:22 am
Another reason why privatization of infrastructure is a bad idea.
Privatized? :shock: I was under the belief that dams, like bridges, were overseen by the Army Corp of Engineers?
The Edenville dam was built by a guy who owned a circus.

Srsly

The Corps of Engineers only ‘police’ dams on navigable waterways.
I am not "someone upthread".
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#6

Post by ZekeB »

There are thousands of obsolete dams out there. At one point we had 75,000 dams on our rivers. Most were built as mill or small power plant dams. They are environmental disasters. We need to remove them at a much faster rate than at present. A dam has a typical life of 50 to 75 years before it gets silted in. The lake looks nice from above, but that's as far as it goes.
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Chilidog
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#7

Post by Chilidog »

In January of this year, the two counties in which these dams are formed a government task force to purchase and maintain these dams.

This purchase was funded by the creation of a Special Assessment District (SAS) comprised of about 8,500 properties surrounding the lakes.

So who is now liable for the resulting damages?

The previous owner?

The counties?

The property owners in the SAD?

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#8

Post by Foggy »

Did the sale actually go through? :?

Seems like if you just formed a government entity to purchase it, it would take a while to negotiate the sale, particularly where the dam was already marked dangerous.
For more information, read it again.

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Chilidog
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#9

Post by Chilidog »

GLADWIN COUNTY (WJRT) (1/6/2020) - The Four Lakes Task Force has signed a purchase agreement to buy the dams at Wixom, Sanfod, Secord and Smallwood lakes from the current owners Boyce Hydro.

The task force was set up after lake levels were lowered for federal dam inspections but not brought back up. That left waterfront land owners with very little lake left.

The $9.4 million project will be finished in two years. Homeowners along the lakes will pay a special assessment for dam maintenance and repairs.

The Special Assessment District includes around 8,500 properties across 11 townships in Gladwin and Midland counties.

In late 2018, the lakes were drawn down for federally-mandated dam inspections, but Boyce didn't bring Wixom back up after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revoked its license to generate power on the Edenville Dam on Wixom Lake. The others lakes returned to normal.

Ultimately the task force moved forward with creation of the Special Assessment District, but required the judge's approval.

The district will pay for the purchase, repairs and operations of the dams, costing property owners around $350 a year.
https://www.abc12.com/content/news/Four ... 52211.html

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#10

Post by Foggy »

OK. 'Course, now the homeowners still have to pay, but there's no lake anymore. And if they want a lake, I'm betting the cost goes up. :-
For more information, read it again.

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Chilidog
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#11

Post by Chilidog »

From a month ago. It sounds like the previous owner was still responsible for rebuilding the spillway

http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/ ... ed-to-ferc
SECORD DAM PRELIMINARY DESIGN AND ENGINEERING REPORT SUBMITTED TO FERC
4/27/2020

Boyce Hydro recently submitted the Secord Dam auxiliary spillway design concept plans and preliminary engineering report to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The Secord Dam submittal is required by FERC to maintain compliance with FERC Dam Safety standards. Secord Dam currently does not have adequate spillway capacity to meet federal regulations. If generation of hydro-electric power is to continue at the Secord Dam, additional spillway capacity must be constructed.
Four Lakes Operations Company has been coordinating with Boyce to prepare the submittal to FERC. The submittal includes a Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) study and also includes preparing a preliminary design of a new auxiliary spillway. The new spillway is initially being considered on the eastern side of the dam. In general, an auxiliary spillway activates after the existing flood gates are open and water flow exceeds the capacity of current flood gate capability. FERC requires this spillway to significantly minimize the risk of the dam washing out during an extreme flood event. Below is an illustration of where a Secord Lake auxiliary spillway may be located and the directional flow of water through it.

It is prudent to determine the long-term cost and benefit of constructing a new auxiliary spillway to meet FERC requirements and maintain hydro-electric power generation. It is critical to consider the most safe and economic path forward. If hydro-electric power is revoked, modifications and improvements to the dam will still be necessary to meet State of Michigan dam safety requirements.

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#12

Post by RTH10260 »

ZekeB wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 10:54 am
There are thousands of obsolete dams out there. At one point we had 75,000 dams on our rivers. Most were built as mill or small power plant dams. They are environmental disasters. We need to remove them at a much faster rate than at present. A dam has a typical life of 50 to 75 years before it gets silted in. The lake looks nice from above, but that's as far as it goes.
I guess the unintended effect of the breach will be the lake gets partially cleared of silt in the main channel of flow, but will fill the next lakes with the stuff.

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#13

Post by TexasFilly »

A "purchase agreement" is not actually a sale. Boyce Hydro still owned these dams (and presumably were profiting from the hydroelectric power). Boyce claims litigation with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) prevented them from making improvements.

My SIL works at the big hospital in Michigan. She's working from home today. :-D The hospital has been under great financial stress due to the cancellation of non-essential surgeries. She told me if she went into work, you have to pee in a Porta-Potty!

While here in Houston we are sadly accustomed to people losing their lives, homes and businesses due to flooding, this is still a terrible thing. Of course the Dotard has inserted himself into this, first threatening Michigan over mail in voting, then claiming HIS government is coming to the rescue.
I love the poorly educated!!!

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#14

Post by TexasFilly »

Also rarely noted nationally, the Great Lakes are at record high levels and have been for a couple of years. Add in some unusually warm winters (climate change anyone) where the ice berms that usually form on Lake Michigan haven't materialized, and you see video of people's lakefront homes falling into the Lake.
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#15

Post by Volkonski »

Dow moves to shut down Midland operations amid historic flooding

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/busin ... 227509002/
Dow Inc., the multinational chemicals giant headquartered in Midland, said it is temporarily shutting down its Dow Michigan Operations site amid historic flooding that prompted thousands of residents to evacuate the area Tuesday night.

"Dow has activated its local emergency operations center and is implementing its flood preparedness plan which includes the safe shutdown of operating units on site," the company said in a statement posted on Facebook early Wednesday. "Only essential Dow staff needed to monitor the situation and manage any issues as a result of the flooding remain on site. We will continue to engage with our site tenants and Midland County officials and take immediate action to ensure the safety and security of our employees, community and the environment."

:snippity:

Dow has been headquartered in Michigan since its inception in 1897. Its Michigan Operations encompass a 1,900-acre advanced manufacturing site where some 3,000 people work to support 26 advanced manufacturing plants, according to the company. The site also is home to a research and development campus.

There, the company makes everything from automotive materials to insecticides to polymers for food and liquid packaging materials, according to its website. Dow has numerous other facilities in Midland, as well, including a corporate center that sits on 150 acres.
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#16

Post by Volkonski »

Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#17

Post by Chilidog »

TexasFilly wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 12:38 pm
A "purchase agreement" is not actually a sale. Boyce Hydro still owned these dams (and presumably were profiting from the hydroelectric power). Boyce claims litigation with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) prevented them from making improvements.

This was the plan as of 2018
The Boyce Trust, current owner of the assets, and the FLTF have entered into a Letter of Agreement to execute a purchase contract to transfer all lake assets. The contract will be signed by June 2019, and a closing in January 2020, contingent upon a Circuit Court order to establish normal legal lake levels. The contract includes a phased transition that moves all deeds and titles into escrow and transfers all Lakes Assets ownership in full in 2022 and transfers complete ownership and operations to the FLTF by June 2024.
:snippity:

An implementation plan and tentative schedule are provided below:
Circuit Court Hearing May 2019
Final Agreement with Boyce June 2019
Interim Financing December 2019
Closing January 2020
Acquisition (Deeds and Titles in Escrow) January 2020
Preliminary Engineering July 2020
Permitting November 2020
Bidding December 2020
Computation of Cost December 2020
Special Assessment Hearing December 2020
Financing January 2021
Acquisition (all Lake Assets in full) January 2022
Construction completed December 2023
All Operations Transfer from Boyce Hydro June 2024
http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/ ... 190426.pdf

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#18

Post by TexasFilly »

That's nice, but all of the reporting I am reading says Boyce still owns the failed dams.

Also, too, note that Dow Chemical, by far the behemoth in the area, is being damaged by this. It may have inured to their benefit to provide financial support to the infrastructure around their important and massive location.
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#19

Post by Chilidog »

Part of the process for the transfer of the dams to the County task force was that lake levels were set at specific elevations by law.
The Edenville Dam impounds the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers creating Wixom Lake, which is approximately 2,600 acres in size at full pool. The legally established Part 307 summer elevation is 675.8 (NGVD29) and can legally vary 0.3 feet above and 0.4 feet below this elevation. The legally established Part 307 winter elevation is 672.8 (NGVD29).
http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/ ... _links.pdf

Volkonski, What say you?

Does it seem like a prudent management policy to establish such a narrow elevation range when you have a dam whose spillway design and capacity is suspect?

I'm not a civil engineer, but I know that watershed analysis can be fairly sophisticated. Shirley it would be possible to calculate lake level rise under various storm events and determine if the spillways would be able to handle that. If the lake levels were required to be maintained at a specific and narrow level, would that not have recklessly constrained the operators ability to deal with a major storm event?

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#20

Post by GreatGrey »

TexasFilly wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 1:48 pm
That's nice, but all of the reporting I am reading says Boyce still owns the failed dams.

Also, too, note that Dow Chemical, by far the behemoth in the area, is being damaged by this. It may have inured to their benefit to provide financial support to the infrastructure around their important and massive location.
Boyce Hydro is owned by a guy from Las Vegas named Lee Mueller.

https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw-bay- ... dland.html

He’s a MAGAite.
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#21

Post by RTH10260 »

"advanced manufacturing plants" --- Sounds like highly roboterized and computerized. Nothing of it likes to get wet feet.

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#22

Post by RoadScholar »

How many of those homeowners would you guess are just now realizing that their Homeowners' Policies don't cover flood damage?
The bitterest truth is healthier than the sweetest lie.
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Chilidog
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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#23

Post by Chilidog »

RoadScholar wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 4:09 pm
How many of those homeowners would you guess are just now realizing that their Homeowners' Policies don't cover flood damage?
Will the downstream homeowners be able to sue the upstream landowners for the damage caused by the water released from the upstream properties?

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#24

Post by Bill_G »

Grumpy Old Guy wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:14 am
Ordering the people to get to higher ground is illegal. They have a constitutional right to drown.
Edit: All kidding aside, that is serious stuff. Aging dams are a serious public safety issue that has been ignored for years.
What higher ground in Michigan?

To go skiing in winter, they dig a hole, let it snow, and then ski from the top of the dirt pile to the bottom of the hole. The glaciers put a fine flat finish over the whole state down into IL and OH.

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Re: Dams break in Michigan

#25

Post by TexasFilly »

There are ski resorts in Michigan. It's not Aspen or Vail, but all the folks I know there ski on the regular, or they did before the #TrumpPlague. https://www.skicentral.com/michigan.html
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