Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 9, 2013

Another View: Dams in state badly need repairs

Several weeks ago, an Associated Press report that bridges in the state of Michigan that are in difficult condition made headlines.

Now, it’s dams.

In an in-depth story for Sunday’s editions, The Detroit Free Press reported that dams scattered all over the Michigan map are in varying states of decay and/or disrepair. A number are in the Upper Peninsula. One, the Lake Sally Dam on the Ely Creek in Marquette County, is rated as just fair.

The Free Press story reported that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality oversees 88 potential high-hazard dams in the state - and all but six of them are approaching or past 50 years old, the average engineered lifespan for a dam.

The Free Press stated that overall, more than 90 percent of Michigan’s nearly 2,600 dams will reach or exceed their design life by 2020, the American Society of Civil Engineers stated in a report giving Michigan a D grade on the condition of its dams. Many are privately owned.

The Free Press story quoted a 2007 study on the growing crisis of aging dams in Michigan, prepared by Public Sector Consultants and Prein and Newhof for the Michigan Municipal League Foundation (the report) said Michigan has nearly 120 dams in need of an estimated $50 million to address their repair or removal.

“It’s infrastructure in our country today, not just dams. Bridges, highways. That’s a huge, ticking time bomb in my mind for the entire country,” Byron Lane, chief of dam safety at the Department of Environmental Quality, said in the Free Press story.

When the states’s or nation’s crumbling infrastructure is discussed, the conversation very quickly turns to money, specifically how much and who pays.

The Mining Journal advocates a statewide dialogue on those very questions and we think that should be done sooner than later.

The Mining Journal, Marquette

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case