One Million Pounds of Debris Have Been Removed from Sanford Since May Floods

Posted Oct. 26, 2020 | By  Christine Kanerva

Sanford is making progress to rebuild after a catastrophic flood swept through the area in May.

“We’re going to get as much of that done as we can before weather makes it impossible,” says Dave Rothman with the Four Lakes Task Force.

In May, a historic rain event led to the failure of the Edenville Dam and 500-year flood in Gladwin and Midland Counties. The flood displaced more than 11,000 people, damaged 2,500 structures and caused an estimated $250 million in damages.

Now, Sanford is picking up the pieces by rebuilding structures and cleaning off the dam.

“It’s great to see the progress, it’s only been a day and a half, a lot of progress has been made,” says Annette Glenn, Michigan State Representative for district 98.

On Monday, crews began cleaning up the debris trapped in the Sanford Dam. Community leaders from Dow Chemical, the Village of Sanford and Four Lakes Task Force met to discuss the rebuilding phase.

Sanford Village President Dolores Porte says, “We did a lot of recovery work and i think we’ve moved in to rebuild, so we’re really excited about that.”

So far, Dow Chemical says they’ve removed more than one million pounds of debris.

Porte says it’s a positive step forward:

“What’s happening today with the dam is just one more large symbol of the progress that we’re making to rebuilding and the hope that the community has. We’re very excited about getting it done.”

Porte says a lot of exciting things have been happening in downtown lately. Last week, they reopened the Saginaw Road Bridge to traffic:

“We’ve had bumper to bumper traffic through here since the bridge opened and actually the night before, the fire department was able to use it and get to fire much quicker.”

Four Lakes Task Force says by cleaning up the dam it will help in their process of taking ownership of the four dams from Boyce Hydro.

Rothman says, “One of the conditions of the agreement was that the dams hand to be turned over to us in the condition that they were in on December 31st, 2019. That wasn’t possible anymore, so we got to start over in May.”

Now, Glenn says with every load of debris removed, Sanford can breathe a sigh of relief.

“All of the work that’s gone on with the dam brings a lot of hope and the courage to continue to rebuild and stay the course,” says Glenn. “We know it’s going to be a long progress but just hanging tight and continue to rebuild together.”