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Sanford village president responds to report saying 2020 dam failures were preventable

An independent forensic team investigating the flood of 2020 said both human and physical factors played a role in the failing of the dams
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 4:31 PM EDT
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SANFORD, Mich. (WNEM) - An independent forensic team investigating the flood of 2020 said both human and physical factors played a role in the failing of the Edenville and Sanford Dams.

Sandford Village President Dolores Porte talked about the 500-page report done by the IFT.

“What I learned from it is it’s really important to have one cohesive group that’s working on dam safety together like we are today,” Porte said.

The IFT went on to say that human actions or inactions were contributors, and had those been different, these failures would not have occurred.

What stuck out to Porte, was the IFT pointing to a lack of oversight factored into the cause of the flood.

“So, I think it’s difficult to comprehend how something as important as a safe dam might slip through the cracks on some of these items,” Porte said.

Porte is quick to point out that the Four Lakes Task Force, the entity in charge of the dams, is working to change that.

In a statement responding to the IFT report, the FLTF said:

“We agree with the IFT’s point that the tragedy of the dam failures could have been avoided if years before the May 2020 failure the dams had become publicly owned or a public-private partnership had been established with sufficient funding for improvements. It is important to FLTF that all the findings of this report are considered in the final design of our dam and lake restoration plans, as well as our plans for future maintenance and operations to keep the four lakes sustainable and safe for this and future generations.”

Porte believes the FLTF will put the facts contained in the report to good use as part of their effort to prevent another devastating flood.

“They are working with those agencies together as a group now and each agency isn’t working independently. But the great news for the future is they’re one cohesive team working on the problem together,” Porte said.