5/22/20 – Failed dam owner fought with state over Wixom Lake levels before flood


EDENVILLE, MI —(Mlive) –  Owners of a collapsed dam that caused major flooding in Michigan say they were pressured by the state to maintain elevated water levels on Wixom Lake behind it, despite concerns about the structure’s ability to handle flooding. It is an accusation a state agency spokesperson calls “misinformation.”

Boyce Hydro Power LLC owners accused Michigan regulators of being more concerned with preserving aquatic life and appeasing property owners than ensuring public safety in a statement following the catastrophic Edenville Dam collapse on Tuesday, May 19.

The resulting flood has displaced about 10,000 people and focused national attention on Michigan as floodwaters inundated the Midland area. Federal energy regulators have ordered Boyce Hydro to conduct a third-party investigation.

The dam’s license to generate power was revoked in 2018.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vowed the state will “pursue every line of legal recourse” against those responsible for the calamity. On Thursday, she suggested that such critical infrastructure should not be in private hands.

Boyce Hydro, which has been criticized for failing to keep the Edenville Dam in compliance with federal regulations, said it sympathizes with those affected by the flood but defended its actions in the weeks and months before record rainfall caused the dam to fail.