Myth: The PMF Spillway Alteration is a “Repair”

Contrary to the belief and description of many individuals and members of the media, the FERC-mandated PMF spillway alterations are not a repair.  The Edenville Dam is quite safe and in no danger of failing.  In fact, the owners of the Edenville Dam have expended in excess of $1.3 million since 2007 for dam safety improvements at Edenville alone.  The only problem is that the dam’s spillway capacity is not adequate to meet FERC’s safety standards for a potential flood that is 1,000 times more devastating than the one in 1986.  (Noah’s Ark, anyone?)

The PMF spillway alteration is an unfunded Federal mandate, which threatens the economic viability of the entire Wixom Lake community.

Boyce Hydro Power, LLC (the holder of the FERC licenses) and its team of highly respected hydrology and geotechnical engineers have been working on the Probable Maximum Flood design solution in conjunction with FERC for more than seven years.  Construction plans and specifications have been developed by Boyce staff and their consulting engineers for this method of complying with FERC’s mandate.  A contracting firm which specializes in dam construction (Gerace Construction of Midland) has prepared the cost estimates.  FERC has approved the plans and schedule and directed Boyce to construct the spillway modification as currently designed.  This time- and money-intensive effort has reached its conclusion.  Approximately $150,000 in related engineering  consulting and design costs have been spent on this effort so far.

Despite efforts by Boyce Hydro Power LLC to either have the PMF alteration requirement waived or reduced, the FERC is unrelenting.  See these documents:

2009–12-10 LWM email to D Stabenow

2010-03-09 Senator Stabenow ltr to LWM re FERC

2012-11-07 FERC ltr to Senator Stabenow re PMF requirements

The PMF spillway alterations do nothing whatsoever to increase income production at the Edenville dam, nor will they have any beneficial effect on the recreational uses or environmental status of Wixom Lake.  (These uses will be disrupted during construction).  They do not increase the overall stability of the earthen portions of the Edenville Dam.

Furthermore, the FERC-mandated PMF spillway alterations will not protect property and residents of Wixom Lake; only those downstream, at Sanford Lake.


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