Excerpt from Member E-News - 
The failure of Edenville and Sanford Dams in Midland County, Michigan, dominated headlines this month. Photos and videos of the failure began trending on Twitter and other social media platforms, and both national and international news outlets began to pay attention. Meanwhile, Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer declared a state of emergency for the county, and almost 11,000 people were evacuated from the area. The evacuation was successful, and no fatalities have been reported. However, there was extensive damage to homes, businesses, and other infrastructure.

While it is still not clear how much of the flooding can be attributed to the failures and who might be at fault, it is clear that many residents have been significantly impacted by this event. We must come together as a community to learn from this failure and work to prevent a similar disaster. Representatives from the ASDSO Board of Directors, committees, staff, and subject matter experts have been pulled to assist ASDSO in determining our next steps. 


The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) can confirm that Edenville and Sanford Dams in Midland County, Michigan, have failed. 

Both dams are located on the Tittabawassee River. The upstream Edenville Dam is state-regulated. It was previously regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) until its power generation license was revoked in 2018. The downstream Sanford Dam remains FERC regulated. The dams were both completed in 1925 and are currently owned by Boyce Hydro Power LLC. 

Following the failure of the dams, Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County and urged residents to evacuate the area if they had not already. About 11,000 people have been evacuated from their residences as of Wednesday afternoon, and no fatalities or significant injuries have been reported. Both dams appear to have emergency action plans (EAPs) according to records.

ASDSO’s efforts are currently focused on supporting our impacted members and providing subject matter experts to the media. As of May 20, ASDSO has answered more than a dozen media inquiries. This situation is rapidly evolving, and we expect more information to be available in the coming days and weeks. ASDSO representatives are working to gather the most accurate information and will continue to update the website.

Article Card Photo Credit: Tc Vortex via Reuters