WHITE CLOUD, MI – Michigan’s aging infrastructure once again has caused problems. This time it is with a dam in Newaygo County.
The City of White Cloud is working to repair failed stoplogs at a city-owned dam that resulted in significant changes in water levels both in a pond upstream of the dam, and the river flowing downstream. Michigan EGLE received reports of the problem Tuesday morning.
Local officials report the dam is stable, and expect to replace the failed stoplogs within days. The stoplogs hold back water in the dam. County emergency management officials and EGLE Dam Safety Unit staff are at the scene this morning.
The White Cloud Dam is rated as a high-hazard dam. Its most recent state inspection in 2019 rated it in fair condition.
It was built in 1872, rebuilt in 1920 after it was destroyed by flooding, and reconstructed in 1990.
White Cloud is located southwest of Big Rapids.
In May of 2020, the Edenville and Sanford Dams near Midland failed after heavy rains fell in a 48-hour period. More than 5 inches of rain fell which placed stress on the many dams located on the Tobacco and Tittabawassee Rivers. This caused the river to surpass the flood stage in many areas.
On May 19th a portion of Edenville Dam’s earthen embankment failed, causing a torrent of water to be released. The level of Sanford Lake rose quickly and by 7.45pm the Sanford Dam had overtopped and failed. The combined failures sent water rushing down the already swollen Tittabawassee River through the village of Sanford, towards the cities of Midland and Saginaw.
The area is still trying to recover from that disaster.