Mar 22, 2024

Federal Regulators Warned Decades Ago: Edenville Dam Is Bound to Fail

Flooded town

What could have been done differently to avoid such a calamity?

That’s the question on the minds of many home and business owners across Edenville, Sanford, and Midland following a pair of catastrophic dam failures. The breaches, characterized as a “500-year event,” have caused untold damage to these communities and the state.

In the hours and days since the flooding, negligence on the part of Edenville Dam owner Boyce Hydro LLC, has come to light. For decades, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has warned of inadequate spillways at the Edenville Dam.

In 2018, the FERC revoked the company’s license, citing concern that the “spillways are not adequate to pass the probable maximum flood, thereby creating a grave danger to the public.” 

The regulators characterized Boyce Hydro as repeatedly noncompliant with requests to make much-needed upgrades to the dam. They wanted the company to build additional spillways to mitigate the risk of dam failure. However, Boyce Hydro did nothing to increase the dam’s flood capacity, which was about half of what it should have been.

Those who suffer harm as a result of this type of negligence may have grounds for legal action. Provided the dam owner failed to act in a reasonably safe manner, they may be legally responsible for the outcome.

Here’s what you should know right now. If you live in an affected area, you can find shelter at any of these locations: 

  • West Midland Family Center - 4011 W. Isabella Road
  • Midland High School - 1301 Eastlawn Drive
  • Bullock Creek High School - 1420 S. Badour Road (pet-friendly)
  • Coleman High School - 4951 N. Lewis Road
  • North Midland Family Center - 2601 E. Shearer Road (pet-friendly)

Residents are advised to not return to their homes until it is declared safe. This may take several days. Keep an eye on these channels for updates:

  • Facebook channels for the following entities:
    • Midland County Emergency Management (MI)
    • Midland County 911
    • City of Midland, Michigan – Municipal Government
  • Twitter: @CityofMidlandMI and @MidlandCountyMI
  • Call 2-1-1
  • Emergency text and email alerts through
  • Additional news releases to local media outlets

Lastly, if you’ve been affected by the dam failures, contact Morgan & Morgan. Our attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation in this difficult time. 
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