Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

December 6, 2012

Violation notice to Traverse City over dam breach

Investigators still searching for cause of damaging breach

TRAVERSE CITY — Investigators searching for a cause of a breach at the Brown Bridge Dam are finally getting a chance this week to inspect a construction device that failed, causing extensive flooding of homes on the Boardman River.

Meanwhile, state environmental regulators notified Traverse City that the Oct. 6 breach at the dam and resulting flooding constituted a violation of a permit issued for removal of the dam. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Water Resources Division issued the violation notice to Traverse City Manager Ben Bifoss Nov. 9.

"The Water Resources Division has determined that the discharge event at the project site caused a significant amount of sediment to be discharged into the Boardman River and its associated wetlands and floodplains," wrote Brian Jankowski, a district supervisor for the MDEQ in Cadillac. "The Water Resources Division is evaluating the extent and significance of damage to natural resources, or the public trust in those natural resources, due to the discharge event."

The breach occurred as construction workers labored to remove the Brown Bridge Dam — one of three scheduled for removal on the river. A device known as a dewatering structure failed, sending a mass of water from the Brown Bridge Pond into the river.

Investigators with the Dam Safety Unit of the MDEQ had to wait until this week to dry out and examine the dewatering structure because the device had to be used again to reroute the river while the dam was removed.

A formal cause of the breach is still pending.

Todd Kalish of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday he and other members of the Boardman River Dams Implementation Team are now working on a formal response to the MDEQ violation notice. It is feasible a fine could be imposed.

Kalish said the response will include a full plan for remediation of any damage to the river.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted