What Really Happened At Edenville and Sanford Dams?

  • Am Vor Monat

    Practical EngineeringPractical Engineering

    In May 2020, heavy flooding resulted in the catastrophic failure of the Edenville Dam embankment, sending a wall of water downstream in the Tittabawassee River and completely draining Wixom Lake. The breach wave quickly overwhelmed the downstream Sanford Dam, overtopping and failing the structure. Over 10,000 residents in Sanford, Midland, and Saginaw were evacuated. The independent forensic team charged with investigating the event released an interim report in September 2021. The conclusions of the report include a discussion of a relatively rare phenomenon in earthen dams. Let’s walk through the investigation to try and understand what happened.

    IFT Interim Report (PDF): damsafety-prod.s3.amazonaws.c...

    Practical Engineering is a DE-film channel about infrastructure and the human-made world around us. It is hosted, written, and produced by Grady Hillhouse. We have new videos posted regularly, so please subscribe for updates. If you enjoyed the video, hit that ‘like’ button, give us a comment, or watch another of our videos!

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    This is not engineering advice. Everything here is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contact an engineer licensed to practice in your area if you need professional advice or services. All non-licensed clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes.

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    Producer/Writer/Host: Grady Hillhouse
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Brandtalones
Brandtalones

Hey, Grady... I've seen a couple of your videos now and I've noticed something. You have a nicely direct means of entering your topic, but you seem to forget to mention the "where" of things, at least as far as the state where the incident occured. I'm right there with you to begin, but am unable to "move over the map" without the state's name. Thanks... B

Vor 6 Stunden
Rez Zircon
Rez Zircon

You might find it interesting to look into Devils Lake, North Dakota... the lake that comes and goes on about a 100 year cycle.

Vor 2 Tage
Steve Jeffress
Steve Jeffress

Grady you’re a breath a fresh air in my life, thank you

Vor 2 Tage
Scrapcash2
Scrapcash2

In all fairness. The dam owners tried several times over the course of a couple of years to drop the level of Wixom lake to do some work to the structure. Plus lower the chances of something going wrong. But the State, and property owners sued the power company claiming that it would damage property values, and would hurt a spcies of animal in the lake, or something like that. Like you said at the end. There was a lot more to the story. The dams were almost 100 years old, and had always worked before. Mother Nature has a mind of her own!!

Vor 2 Tage
Edward Silva
Edward Silva

Dam operators wanted to lower water levels prior to failing but the shoreline property owners wouldn't hear of it not wanting their property values to suffer......greed pure and simple

Vor 2 Tage
HardluckHarry
HardluckHarry

This is on Whitmer. No one else!

Vor 3 Tage
Hkk Hgffh
Hkk Hgffh

Wixom hihihi

Vor 3 Tage
Save the earth Don't give birth
Save the earth Don't give birth

I hate this guy.

Vor 4 Tage
Kareem Othman
Kareem Othman

yup.. it is clear and useful, someone tell me what my university teacher get paid for if I can find better explanation on YouTube 🤬

Vor 4 Tage
Nigel Florent
Nigel Florent

#practicalengineering such a video as this one is enjoyable and informative

Vor 4 Tage
William Opperman
William Opperman

Your analysis and presentation are excellent! I was interim dam inspector (volunteer, unpaid) for two dams in my local community. One was what I call a "drop-box" dam...the other was a simple Ogee with a small gate that was frozen by rust and corrosion. I went to a few seminars provided by the state of NJ at Rutgers...to bring us up to speed...so to speak. Both dams were "low-risk", in that...no loss of life or property were present should one or both fail. It emptied out into a river that went directly to the Delaware Bay. All of it...VERY interesting. I'm a Special Ed teacher, but I thought all these factors were too complicated to present to my students. My compliments to you on your thoughtful and precise technical analysis and evaluation for all your videos!

Vor 6 Tage
William Opperman
William Opperman

Just a thought? I'm also a General Contractor and deal with concrete (pouring, forming, mixing) for foundations, patios, curbs, driveways, aprons...etc. When you deal with concrete (especially mixing small batches from bags) you can witness first-hand LIQUIFACTION. There's a critical moment where...as you add water...it transforms from thick but workable...to nearly liquid. Sometimes the difference is just a cup or two of water in a wheelbarrow as you rake it in. Perhaps you could do a video to demonstrate this phenomenon?

Vor 6 Tage
Red RumOnE
Red RumOnE

METEORS DID IT!!!!! That'll be 20$.

Vor 7 Tage
Blair Young
Blair Young

PE's videos about soil failure always make my heart sink.

Vor 7 Tage
Blair Young
Blair Young

"Soil is weird... But don't tell the geotechnical engineers." 😂 #nerdhumor is THE BEST!

Vor 7 Tage
Gaming with Lacks Agency
Gaming with Lacks Agency

Will you please do a video on what happened in lower mainland British Columbia?

Vor 8 Tage
Fireball006
Fireball006

0:30 Caused more than 200 million dollars in DAM-age

Vor 8 Tage
felixworks
felixworks

It's bizarre that dams can be owned and operated by non-governmental entities when there are gigantic risks to the public such as this. Profit motive should not play a factor into projects that are directly responsible for public safety.

Vor 8 Tage
CARNIFEXX48
CARNIFEXX48

Only a Michigan graduate

Vor 8 Tage
#Action4Assange
#Action4Assange

Yet another example of why you MUST MAINTAIN your infrastructure...these incidents will keep happening until the US congress stops spending $750,000,000,000.00+ per year on "national defense"...we need to start investing here and stop attempting to out-empire Rome & Britain... Great video!

Vor 8 Tage
Taekwondo Time
Taekwondo Time

Exactly the same scenario as the condo building collapse: All of these problems were well-known by engineers prior to the failure, and they were communicated to the proper authorities... who then did NOTHING to correct them.

Vor 9 Tage
the big sad
the big sad

A very big shout out to FEMA for providing help to all my friends and family and everyone else effected from this flood. Considering all the insurance companies and the state haven’t done a thing about everyone’s homes that where washed away to most people that this happened too.

Vor 9 Tage
Loturzel Restaurant
Loturzel Restaurant

It's my declared hobby to recommend science-youtube-fans science-youtuber they may not know yet. Anyone interested?

Vor 9 Tage
2bigbufords
2bigbufords

That was a big surprise when the dam owner filed for bankruptcy

Vor 9 Tage
OldCountryman
OldCountryman

Is there anything in Michigan that isn’t failing?

Vor 9 Tage
James
James

I was activated as a member of the Michigan Army National Guard to respond to this emergency in Midland. I drove a troop carrier transport with 10 firefighters in the back to search for trapped residents in the high water. I had water in my cab multiple times but it was an overall very rewarding experience

Vor 10 Tage
Green
Green

Even beavers know to compact the soil... 🤦‍♂️

Vor 10 Tage
PhantomStella
PhantomStella

This is really interesting thanks!

Vor 10 Tage
Vilhelmo De Okcidento
Vilhelmo De Okcidento

"There is only so much you can do to compel an owner to embark on a multi-million dollar rehabilitation project" Not true at all. Confiscate the dam and have the state bring it up to code. Tax land values, the most efficient form of taxation, according to Adam Smith & others, to provide funds to state & local governments or have the Feds pay to keep the public safe.

Vor 11 Tage
Hank Hankk
Hank Hankk

Oh damn

Vor 11 Tage
Pickled Pig Knuckles
Pickled Pig Knuckles

Seems to be terribly iLL advised to begin with when first you choose to design for Disaster

Vor 11 Tage
Mariola Zielińska
Mariola Zielińska

Hi Grady! Love your videos! Congratulations on your hard work and storytelling skills! I have a question regarding your animations e.g. the one where the water level in a dam rises. Would you like to share with us an advice on how to make such animation? I am a civil engineer myself and creating such animations would greatly benefit the work I do!

Vor 11 Tage
Hayden Blanchard
Hayden Blanchard

my fuckin house was destroyed but all anyone cares about it what happened and how to bring back the lake. the government should have forced someone to fix the damn, if this happened in L.A or N.Y.C we’d flip but it’s just the middle of michigan so no one gives a fuck

Vor 11 Tage
Zippy Thekid
Zippy Thekid

When I read the question, my first thought was, the Queen song, 'Under Pressure'.

Vor 12 Tage
RyanHannaMusic
RyanHannaMusic

i can help you get rid of that wooo sound out of your mic...

Vor 12 Tage
Robert L
Robert L

An interesting video made unwatchable by annoying and unnecessary background music. Why do you do this? It serves no purpose and pollutes the viewing environment.

Vor 12 Tage
sackerland
sackerland

Damn.

Vor 13 Tage
Ellen Brown
Ellen Brown

The Oroville Dam, in Northern California is a good example of what you have been discussing. It was built in 1968.

Vor 13 Tage
Stealthydragon
Stealthydragon

Thank you for these great breakdown videos explaining these large structure failures. I'm an engineer (chemical, not civil) and it's really interesting to get an explanation of the specifics of how these structures are built and the challenges they face, along with the safety factors that are usually in place. It's really interesting to learn about another engineering discipline since I only know the basics and your videos are presented at a really nice degree of technical, where lay people can enjoy it, and technical people don't feel like they're being spoken down to. I really love your channel and have recommended it to several other engineering friends. Keep it up!

Vor 14 Tage
d0nKsTaH
d0nKsTaH

This is what happens when people run the beavers off. Beavers know how to build dams. But ohhh nooo..

Vor 14 Tage
ChaiLatte
ChaiLatte

Be sure to check out Jordan Mowbray's channel. He has been following the rebuilding of the dams. He has live cams set up to watch the work too.

Vor 14 Tage
Marty B
Marty B

This is a fascinating and informative video for a layperson. Thanks for taking the time to make it.

Vor 14 Tage
erintheunready
erintheunready

When I first heard about the sinking I was like, "was it liquefaction?" then I saw the video and I was like "I BET IT WAS LIQUEFACTION" so as a non engineer I was very satisfied to be proven right 😂 TBF I started down the path of environmental engineering so I'm not a compete novice... just mostly.

Vor 15 Tage
Kvakerbill Duck
Kvakerbill Duck

It is better to live above a dam than under it.

Vor 15 Tage
Andre Walker
Andre Walker

Can you do a video on how climate change is affecting or might affect civil engineering projects

Vor 15 Tage
Philip Brown
Philip Brown

I wish you were my college teacher

Vor 15 Tage
Jordan Freshour
Jordan Freshour

Yet another public disaster due to poor workmanship. One thing I’ve learned from watching disaster videos on YouTube it’s how every accident is never really an accident… It is the result of human failings and oversight. Humans are always going to be human, yet it is constantly surprising to me how common sense, due diligence, and a decent work ethic could make our entire world so much safer.

Vor 15 Tage
pan zhou
pan zhou

God Dam

Vor 16 Tage
pmm4177
pmm4177

Well dam...

Vor 16 Tage
Balsam McVinegar
Balsam McVinegar

The earth became quicksand by getting too wet.

Vor 16 Tage
Large_ Hadron_Colander
Large_ Hadron_Colander

0:30 This is serious and tragic, but I couldn't help not to laugh at "...over 200 million in DAMN-AGE"

Vor 16 Tage
The Seventh Generation
The Seventh Generation

The first mistake was a de-evolution based approach to capturing and storing energy. Where in nature can you find anything that uses the movement of water to provide life for itself? So many other brilliant options were swept under the rug as the stomping juggernauts threw tantrums until we sealed our own destruction. The earth is here to provide life. Create life, capture energy, perpetuate life. Lightning can be captured, despite what common scientists say. The heat of the earth can be captured, despite what scientists say. In the end, we must ALWAYS remain focused on harmony and balance with the earth. It is time to remove those who are satisfied with destruction and suffering. Put these children in the classroom.

Vor 17 Tage
august
august

One would think that after 100yrs, that the dam would be as compacted/settled as much as possible, but if it wasn't built right with a proper clay core trench, things like this will happen unfortunately.

Vor 17 Tage
Dan Burch
Dan Burch

"See, I told you so!" said everyone else .

Vor 17 Tage
Jan
Jan

you also need to remember the first earth rollers with vibration came in the 50s so they couldnt really compact the ground enough

Vor 17 Tage
Eric Taylor
Eric Taylor

It seems the answer to the economic paradox is to simply sell the dam to the State, then charge a tax to those who benefit finically from the damn. Or maybe we could say to benefit from the the damn you must own a share of the dam. This would spread out the costs of operating the dam so those costs don't overwhelm just one business.

Vor 17 Tage
Kevy's Random Stuff
Kevy's Random Stuff

built 1920s is not an excuse and council get away with liability

Vor 17 Tage
Alan L. Simmons
Alan L. Simmons

For those interested in more info and rebuilding vids try: https://youtu.be/RQmRy6uspUo

Vor 18 Tage
TheNerogarden
TheNerogarden

You're awesome. Great video!

Vor 18 Tage
WilliamJoseph Burns
WilliamJoseph Burns

Thanks lots once again for this valuable nugget of knowledge.

Vor 19 Tage
Jimmy Hendricks
Jimmy Hendricks

Excellent video!

Vor 19 Tage
jordan w
jordan w

Thank you for this. I am literally at my cabin on wixom lake/edenville dam as I'm watching this

Vor 19 Tage
TheTyisAwesome
TheTyisAwesome

Almost seems like every old Damn should be re built or have though look over by today's engineers

Vor 20 Tage
Simon Pruszynski
Simon Pruszynski

Lets pray that this guy dosen't design any nuclear power plants.

Vor 21 Tag
Joe Mama
Joe Mama

This video was dam interesting.

Vor 21 Tag
John Lewan
John Lewan

We are often too arrogant to remember one simple fact, nature will always win. Sometimes not until 90 years later in this case, or like the St. Francis dam in Los Angeles county. Less than a week after filling it collapsed around midnight, sending a wave of destruction that ended over 500 lives. We've create amazing things with our knowledge, but Mother Nature is the landlord, and she'll always have the last word. Thanks for your in depth analysis, made it easier to understand what happened.

Vor 21 Tag
crystal sheep
crystal sheep

Good summary but a bit lacking in details if you ask me

Vor 22 Tage
James Evans
James Evans

Reminds me of 'The Pumps that must run Forever, or part of Germany Floods" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LseK5gp66u8) by Tom Scott. As part of the agreement to mine the area, the mining companies had to agree to always keep the water out of the valley they were mining. Communities are build in this valley now, and if they ever failed, the entire valley would be lost. Not sure how that's managed / maintained / paid for in Germany, compared to the US, but it looked quite modern in the Tom Scott video.

Vor 23 Tage
Solo Palface
Solo Palface

Trad. 1 En mayo de 2020, las fuertes inundaciones provocaron la falla catastrófica del terraplén de la presa de Edenville, lo que envió una pared de agua corriente abajo en el río Tittabawassee y drenó por completo el lago Wixom. La ola de ruptura rápidamente abrumó la presa Sanford aguas abajo, rebasando y fallando la estructura. Más de 10,000 residentes en Sanford, Midland y Saginaw fueron evacuados. El equipo forense independiente encargado de investigar el evento publicó un informe provisional en septiembre de 2021. Las conclusiones del informe incluyen una discusión de un fenómeno relativamente raro en las presas de tierra. Repasemos la investigación para intentar comprender qué sucedió.

Vor 23 Tage
Mollie Wood
Mollie Wood

Thanks for all the info very informative.

Vor 23 Tage
Thor S
Thor S

You can make good money with clean energy, no need to pity the owner. This was criminal neglect.

Vor 24 Tage
cp1cupcake
cp1cupcake

....so let me get this straight. The dam was given to the state because of violating regulations and the state did.......jack shit. Also, I didn't know the cost of homes in Michigan were all close to Detroit's.

Vor 24 Tage
Dave Vollhardt
Dave Vollhardt

But what this doesn't mention is the michigan dnr stepping in the way of upgrades because of a clam. Yes a clam

Vor 26 Tage
Tim Storey
Tim Storey

We need the federal government to step up with the money to maintain and re-build these dams. Some may actually need to be de-constructed depending on the situation. None of these dams should be entirely under private ownership, it’s just a disaster waiting to happen unless there is a public private partnership providing a carrot and a stick to get the private entities to actually perform the necessary studies and subsequent maintenance an re-construction. Hopefully the infrastructure bill gets passed soon and hopefully it has enough funds to start to tackle this problem. However, according to what I just read there is only 2.3 billion for dams. By my estimation I think the necessary funds needed to repair all federally owned and privately owned dams is somewhere between $200 billion and $900 billion. We spend $750 billion a year on the military, if we cut that in half for two years and put the other half towards repairing these dams the problem would be solved.

Vor 26 Tage
Gabriel Sénécal
Gabriel Sénécal

Well explained as always.

Vor 26 Tage
Palka Salyami
Palka Salyami

It's so cool to live near a river :o

Vor 27 Tage
MarcosElMalo2
MarcosElMalo2

Would the improvements to the spillways have prevented this failure? I get that the spillways themselves didn’t suffer catastrophic failure, but would the ordered improvements have kept water levels below the liquefaction point?

Vor 27 Tage
Edward Cerami
Edward Cerami

Always interesting content. Thank you for sharing.

Vor 27 Tage
marscaleb
marscaleb

I had to rewind this video a dozen times or more; the footage was often so jaw-dropping that I kept missing what was being said.

Vor 27 Tage
Phyarth
Phyarth

Myth busters made experiment on quicksand when water in sand can make objects to sink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbn4aie5FAE&ab_channel=MaguedIskander

Vor 28 Tage
Anedra Lewis
Anedra Lewis

This was a very informational video. I actually understand the static liquifaction. I do wonder fi had the State allowed them to lower the water in preparation for the predicted May rains if it would have happened at all. From the time the rains were predicted (10 inches) to the day of the failure they had about a week during which time they could have been lowering the water, while we will never know, common sense says if you are at high water level and you are going to get 5-10 inches of rain you start lowering the water level to make room. But the MI AG was more concerned over the musseles that were endangered than the residents, and said no. No the mussels are probably gone and an entire area decimated.

Vor 29 Tage
Paul Szydlowski
Paul Szydlowski

As a property owner on Secord Lake, one of the four lakes within the Special Assessment District that took ownership of these dams, it is refreshing to hear a professional voice lacking any personal connection to this project provide a clear and compelling explanation of why the dams failed, and more importantly, the financial pressures that made such failure possible. The local community is so torn by finger-pointing, suspicion and misinformation that calm voices like this are a welcome and much-needed relief.

Vor 29 Tage
FoulPet
FoulPet

Looked like a China video

Vor Monat
Ben Dover
Ben Dover

They should increase the price per KiloWatt hour by 1 cent. This money should be put into an interest bearing account. When maintenance is deemed necessary the money should be pulled out of this account and for no other reason. This formula should be mandatory for all power plants generating megawatts of power or more.

Vor Monat
Jari
Jari

So the road though the damm should have locks or ports that can be closed - then only abut half the water would have been relesed assuming one spillway would hold . But I guess to next time or next thereafter

Vor Monat
Yusuke Shinyama
Yusuke Shinyama

Since I started watching your channel a couple of years ago, I grew to appreciate everyday structures that I previously thought boring or unsexy. Your videos are really enlightening and fun to watch. Thank you.

Vor Monat
Azie Rage
Azie Rage

Waiting for your video of that tragic event in Nigeria. :(

Vor Monat
Pig62
Pig62

Can you cover the Niland Mud Geyser

Vor Monat
Anthony VEGA
Anthony VEGA

#Team sea

Vor Monat
GrumpyOrc
GrumpyOrc

One of your best and most well put together videos, and given the overall quality of your videos that is no small praise.

Vor Monat
limjo johnson
limjo johnson

Can you do a video on Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala this dam is over 126 year old. when bulding this Dam British estimated this dam life is just 75 year

Vor Monat
Miguel Moreno
Miguel Moreno

Planned disaster by the occult and there is many more to come

Vor Monat
He Ka
He Ka

Modern damn safetystandards

Vor Monat
Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Why don't dam authorities just do like every other agency in the country? Make a SWAT team with assault weapons and military tanks and throw dam owners into your for-profit prison system?

Vor Monat
AverageJoe
AverageJoe

Do a video on #teamseas you’re perfect for this!!

Vor Monat
Jt Schaarsmith
Jt Schaarsmith

This is the direct result of a corrupt state government. Where state employee pay is the only focus and no infrastructure. Michigan is only about subjugation and extortion through law enforcement agencies. Dams that don't make money are not a priority.

Vor Monat
Guru Prasad
Guru Prasad

Please do a video on Harold Edwin Hurst's research on flooding in the Nile!! So much there, chaos, complex systems, extreme long term dependence, fractals etc etc

Vor Monat
M Farouq
M Farouq

മുല്ലപെരിയാർ

Vor Monat
Colt45caliber
Colt45caliber

I'm glad you're making videos again

Vor Monat
vital URAGON
vital URAGON

Oh no

Vor Monat

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