Edenville Dam Collapse Michigan Class Action

From at least August 6, 1993, the complaint for this class action says that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent the owners or operators of four Michigan dams letters that “emphasized the potentially unsafe condition” of one or more of the dams. In May 2020, two of the four dams failed, causing severe flooding.

The class for this action is all individuals and entities who suffered bodily injury or property damage from flooding caused by the collapse of the Edenville Dam in Michigan in May 2020.

The plaintiffs in this class action are Pleasant Beach Mobile Home Resort, LLC and several individuals. Pleasant Beach is on the shores of Wixom Lake and rents RV lots, vacation cabins and RVs, and boat slips at the Lake. The failures flooded the grounds and cabins of Pleasant Beach and drained Wixom Lake. They have also left the resort without power, water, or septic service.

The four major dams are each roughly a hundred years old. FERC’s concern was particularly high in the case of the Edenville Dam, which could pose a hazard to the Village of Sanford, Northwood University, the City of Midland, and other areas downstream of the dam.

FERC was worried about “the risk of catastrophic erosion from overtopping due to inadequate spillway capacity, which the complaint says was only “approximately 50% of the federally mandated Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) standard…”

Also, the complaint claims that the Second Dam did “not have adequate spillway capacity to meet federal regulations.” The companies that held the licenses to operate the dams were Boyce Hydro Power, LLC, Boyce Hydro, LLC, and/or Boyce Michigan, LLC.

The complaint claims that Boyce refused to comply with the requirements of licenses or FERC’s requests. It quotes a task force document as saying that the companies “displayed a history of obfuscation and outright disregard of [their] obligations.”’

FERC revoked the license for Edenville in September 2018. Oversight was given to the Michigan Department of the Environment and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who are also defendants in this case. Shortly thereafter, dam safety engineers noted that since the dams had been built before current regulations were in force, “the original design did not consider present day design capacity requirements.”

The report concluded, “At this point in time, … [we] do[] not believe that the Edenville Dam can be operated to meet the [State] dam safety requirement … without certain repairs and improvements.”

The complaint says that the state organizations “opposed or delayed” interim measures and repairs “because of the concern for freshwater mussels and fish.”

The Second Dam was breached after days of rainfall in May 2020. Then the Edenville Dam collapsed. As a result, the water breached the Sanford Dam downstream. All this caused severe flooding in the Midland area and elsewhere, the draining of Wixom Lake, and personal injury damage to properties.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Hazard

Most Recent Case Event

Edenville Dam Collapse Michigan Complaint

May 22, 2020

From at least August 6, 1993, the complaint for this class action says that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent the owners or operators of four Michigan dams letters that “emphasized the potentially unsafe condition” of one or more of the dams. In May 2020, two of the four dams failed, causing severe flooding.

Edenville Dam Collapse Michigan Complaint

Case Event History

Edenville Dam Collapse Michigan Complaint

May 22, 2020

From at least August 6, 1993, the complaint for this class action says that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent the owners or operators of four Michigan dams letters that “emphasized the potentially unsafe condition” of one or more of the dams. In May 2020, two of the four dams failed, causing severe flooding.

Edenville Dam Collapse Michigan Complaint
Tags: Dam, Flood, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Failure