Source: Sherman Publications

Work repairs sinkholes near Goodrich Dam

by David Fleet

June 04, 2014

Goodrich- A series of sinkholes reported last year near the century-old village dam has prompted some extensive repairs this spring.

Work began June 2 on the village dam and is expected to take about a week to complete, said Pete Morey, village council member and street administrator. The water in the pond was lowered on Monday so workers could remove some of the earth near the spillway. Two gates on the dam were removed and will be replaced.

The extensive work is needed after significant seepage near sinkholes in the soil embankment just east of the spillway. There were at least two instances of where the soil gave way under foot. There were no injuries. The sinkholes are an indication of a breach suspected by village officials and dam engineers from the old dam.

On Feb. 11 the village council OK’d a pair of proposals to help rectify the leaky, more than 100-years-old dam. By a vote of 5-0 the village council moved forward with a proposal from Midland-based Gerace Construction for $43,925 to begin in early spring to determine the cause and repair the leaching village dam. Details of the process include removal of the westernmost watergate to drain the mill pond, excavate down about 13 feet (approximately 70 cubic yards of material), and repair leaking joints on both the north and south sides of Hegel Road. In addition, the council also OK’d 5-0, for WadeTrim to assist in obtaining permits, contractor coordination, site observation and documentation of the project. The cost to the village is an additional $8,000 according to the agreement.

“On Tuesday morning workers discovered an artesian well—from which water flows under natural pressure without pumping— when they were digging under the west side,” said Morey. “We’ll drain the water from the well to the creek, that’s part of the problem with the sinkhole.”

As of presstime, workers had moved over to the east side of the dam and were continuing excavation of material.

“For the most part, digging is going well and it should be completed next week,” he said.

The Goodrich dam is just one of about 3,000 statewide that need repair or removal.

Six projects that received $2.35 million in 2013 as part of the Department of Natural Resources’ Dam Management Grant Program are steadily making progress in an effort to remove or repair local dams.

The Dam Management Grant Program was designed and launched in late 2012 to support Gov. Rick Snyder’s initiatives concerning local infrastructure needs. Grant recipients are using the funds to remove dams without economic purpose or to repair dams with economic purpose but that have imminent public safety issues and are deemed in unsatisfactory condition or under order by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Dam Safety Division. The program was funded by general fund dollars appropriated by the legislature during the program’s first year.

“Projects are moving smoothly for the six recipients,” said Chris Freiburger, coordinator of the Dam Management Grant Program. “The recipients all are working hard to complete their projects and to meet the goals of the program.”