Thursday, May 21, 2020

Two Breached Dams in Michigan (Wixom and Sanford Lakes)

Edenville Dam: (Satellite)
Sanford Dam: (Satellite)

(new window) I still haven't seen where the Sanford Dam failed.

I finally found evidence that the Sanford Dam was also breached (10:03 video).
It did withstand overtopping for a while. [3:39 video]
Grady Hillhouse Practical Engineering's analysis of the failure (14:14 video)

Tom Skilling posted
Timothy Wenzel launched his drone and posts this "morning-after" view of the Edenville dam breach at Edenville Michigan.
Royce Engle Feds revoked failed Edenville dam's license in 2018 over inability to handle big floods
[This dam caused a lot of damage for just 4.8 MW. And, as we have seen with the dams on the Upper Missouri, priority was given to Summer recreation rather than Spring flood retention. This 1925, 6,600' long, 54.5' high dam can hold 40,000 acre-feet. They are calling this a 500-year flood. A state regulation authority fought the Winter drawdowns to save freshwater mussels. The Feds determined that the current spillway capacity can handle only 50% of the Probable Maximum Flood. That was the main reason for revoking the license. The reservoir was at Summer levels by the beginning of May. But instead of a full lake, the people living on the shores of the reservoir who pushed for the higher lake levels now have a mud field. Those people also resisted paying fees to have the dam repaired.]
James Prazuch It’s bad. I saw a whole house float down the river.
Michael Wood My parents said that their friends in Midland had their house decimated. Very sad.
Jayme Jakeway Just a wall of water about to sweep by a chemical plant on it's way to the Great Lakes...
Jack Zatirka And Dow's retention ponds were also overwhelmed. People haven't eaten fish downstream from Dow for decades. Now the line will be pushed out into Saginaw Bay.

Michael Matalis shared
The water in the drone photo above is in the emergency spillway area, and the spillway appears to be intact.
But this embankment, whose top should have been protected by the road, did not do its job. However, a breach of the only embankment I can find with a road on top would not spill water downstream. So I still don't know what failed. I quit watching this video when it became talking heads, each saying this is a disaster. I've read in several accounts (e.g. ChicagoTribune) that 9' of water is expected in downtown Midland.
The Edenville Dam has a second controlled and emergency spillway.

Found the failure. The following screenshot shows the eastern emergency spillway did breech. My current theory is that the above screenshot is of a downstream road that got wiped out by the deluge of water that was released by the spillway breech. According to this video, it was Curtis Road.

The reservoir of this dam is called Wixom Lake. The people living on the shore went from too much water to...
Screenshot (This video has some interesting controlled spillway action starting here.)
...too little water.

[Because it is orange, this is probably a testament to the strength of fiber optic cables.]
I think this eye witness description of the breech is interesting. It sounds like it did not erode from the top down but the water "punched through." I think that is called a boil.

Some "water power" scenes from CBS. So far I have not seen a failure of the Sanford Dam. I've seen some water going over the emergency spillway, but not enough to cause damage. The controlled spillway should be going full bore. If this is a typical earth dam design, the full output of the spillway will cause downstream flooding. I wonder how the breech of an upstream dam compares to the Probable Maximum Flood flow.

This is how I first learned about a dam reservoir being drained.
Chance Cornwell posted seven photos with the comment:
(Edit: this a Thew type O steam shovel. It was left behind when the dam was completed and the lake filled in 1925.)I live in midland Michigan, and we’re currently experiencing some crazy flooding which resulted in several dams failing, draining the lakes. This was uncovered in one of those drained lakes, a good ways under the water when there still was a lake. What is this? A steam bucket excavator? This dam was built in 1925, and this piece of equipment is not too far from it. Thanks!
Kevin Kutzke Richard Schott a buddy of mine that lives on Wixom Lake said he thinks it was by the dam that breached. That looks like the trailer park in the background of one of the pictures.
Lauri Dew Roberts It a old steam shovel left behind after the dam was completed. It ran on rails (no tracks like a excavator) in late 70’s my dad (Moose) Bill Lang, Dick Bailer Bin Robinson started looking for it . From some old pictures he had a good idea where it was . After dragging the bottom they believed they snagged a cable and found it but was never able to see it with the water so cloudy. We are going through what paperwork dad had. I’ll post more when we find more information.
Mike Furgason Lauri Dew Roberts It has big flat steel traction wheels on it, not rail wheels. You can see them in the one picture.. A lot of old shovels were that way before they had what they called Caterpillar tracks. Yes some were mounted on railroad rail.
Renee Inscho In seeing this my father began telling me stories that his father (my grandpa) shared with him about this. His father (my great grandfather) ran this dam in 1925(or abouts) following the building of it. It was told that after digging it was common to leave them in the hole because you couldn't get them out.
[There are a lot of comments about it needing to be saved, and chance added some more photos.]







Christopher Mack commented on Chance's post
Mark Bellefeuille The fact that someone post nearly unrecognizable photos of a piece of machinery and there guys in this group that know the model, year, and even have a name plate from another one literally blows my mind! This group 110% never disappoints!

Lauri Dew Roberts commented on Chance's post
Mark Frey posted
Here's a good pic of the shovel that was in the lake at Midland, Michigan. Caption from An old dredge machine has been uncovered after water washed out due to the failure of the Edenville Dam on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Edenville Township north of Midland. (Jake May | Flint Journal,
Jeremy Luke Horizontal crowed type o Thew

Matt Weyand commented on Mark's post
It appears to be a Thew shovel with horizontal crowd. The structure on the underside of the boom gives it away.

Screenshot @ 0:28
"A 1901 Thew Model Zero"
[I assume it is that black line near the center foreground. Bill and Michel Oberlaier plan to salvage it.]

A 20:28 video of the removal  This shows that they removed some parts like the boiler before they got to the boom removal where the above video starts.

56:52 update on Jul 25, 2021  I did not watch this because I don't like videos where I watch the guy walk from one place to another. But I include it in case others have more patience.

(new window, 14:14)

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