Source: Sherman Publications

Water lowered in mill pond as dam engineers check leaks

by David Fleet

December 11, 2013

Goodrich- Earlier this fall seepage was found in the century-old dam after a village DPW worker and others reported sinkholes in the soil embankment just east of the spillway. There were several instances of where the soil gave way under foot. No injuries were reported.

Last week the suspected breach in the dam has now prompted village officials to lower the water in the mill pond so engineers from WadeTrim and dam specialists can analyze the issue.

On Monday night, village officials voted 4-0 to approve $1,500 to analyze the issues of the sinkholes.

“The water has been lowered for safety purposes and so they can take a better look next week at the dam,” said Pete Morey, village council member. “It’s a big process and many factors are at work under the dam.”

Last month, Jason Kenyon, engineer from WadeTrim, attended the village council meeting to address escalating issues with the village dam.

“There are issues with the embankment of the dam,” said Kenyon. “Ground water is migrating around the dam. We are not sure of the condition (of the dam). While there are long-term replacement considerations of the dam in the future, there are short term fixes that need to be addressed.”

Kenyon suggested a proposal for a series of tests including geotechnology studies and soil boring around the dam.

“We can only tell so much from the surface,” he said. “There’s a lot going on we can’t qualify—there’s big voids under the dam.”

The needed repairs to the aging structure are among several that require attention by the village.

According to the Association of Michigan Dam Safety, of the 1,019 state regulated dams, 88 have a high hazard potential, 132 have a significant hazard potential and 799 have a low hazard potential.