Residents concerned over flood gates - WNEM TV 5

Residents concerned over flood gates

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SANFORD, MI (WNEM) -

The flooding in Sanford has some people questioning the way the situation was handled.

They want to know whose decision it was to open the flood gates when they did, and whether it was really necessary.

"We wouldn't have to go through this ... losing property, furniture. But they open all the gates at once, and all of a sudden you're knee deep in water," said Terry.

Terry didn't want to give his last name, but he questions whether flooding inside his home and others this week could have been avoided. Terry said opening all the flood gates to the Sanford dam at the same time caused water to overflow into yards and houses.

"Senseless to open all the flood gates when you can open two and relieve the water a little at a time," Terry said.

Only two of the floodgates are open now, but earlier this week all six were completely opened up and water was flooded all the way up to the consumers substation. That's also when some residents said water started to edge their front doors.

"I'm tired of getting wet," said Bob Carl, director of Public Works for Sanford.

He said the Sanford dam is owned by Boyce Hydro LLC. It decides when to open and close the flood gates and monitors water levels.

"When you get three inches of water dumped north of us it's hard to control," Carl said.

Carl said judging from the amount of rain that came down he understands why all flood gates needed to be opened up.

"The amount of water that fell over the weekend is uncontrollable, they already had the lake down at a certain level they try to control it at," Carl said. 

However, Terry said he's still skeptical that a better plan could be put in place to avoid future flooding.

"If this dam was more managed than what it is we wouldn't have this problem year after year after year," Terry said.

Once again all eyes are on Boyce Hydro when they chose to open the floodgates and how many.

Lee Meuller, owner of Boyce Hydro, said the company considers this a 100 year flood which justifies opening all of the gates.

He also said Boyce has several operators monitoring water levels 24 hours a day.

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