Almost a year and a half after the Sanford and Denville dams failed, the Federal Energy Regulatory commission's independent forensic team released an interim report.
The 42-page document lists static liquefaction as the root problem.
"Basically, that means that the loose sands in the embankment had become so saturated that they lost their strength and stiffness and behaved more like a liquid than a solid and led to catastrophic and very quick collapse of the dam,” said Hugh McDiarmid from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
McDiarmid said that doesn't happen very often.
"So, I think that our dam safety unit and probably dam safety people across the country will be looking at this to figure out if they need to adjust their thinking on these types of dams,” McDiarmid said.
But reports like these can reopen old wounds.
"I started to look over some of it. Sometimes it's pretty overwhelming to look at like head on,” said Vanessa Maxson, a Midland resident.
Maxson’s home flooded when the dams broke.
"It's hard to trust entities or sources that have already I feel like let us down or trust something that you're not in the process of or a part of,” Maxson said.
Sanford resident Teresa Quintana read through the report multiple times.
"It was kind of emotional to read through and look at the pictures. And I think it's kind of bringing some anger back for a lot of people,” Quintana said.
She's glad to see the results.
"I think that this is a good, it was a good study to have done so we can see what went wrong and what not to do,” Quintana said.
The second half of the report will come in several months. It'll detail the why of the collapse and the human factors.