LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Department of Attorney General and the Department of Natural Resources on Thursday released new information on their investigation into the Edenville Dam’s 2020 failures.

In May of 2020, the Midland area of Michigan was threatened by over 34 feet of floodwaters after “catastrophic failures” at the Edenville Dam.

The dam, about 140 miles north of Detroit, failed after record rainfall, causing flooding along the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers.

The east embankment of the dam failed on May 19, sending floodwaters to nearby towns.

The state revealed Thursday that in 2010, Boyce Hydro, the company that owned the dam, had determined that the dam could fail if Wixom Lake rose too high.

According to Nessel’s office, Boyce never fixed the error, despite having known about it, nor did they inform any governmental bodies.

The dam’s former safety manager resigned in protest in May of 2017 because the manager of Boyce Hydro, who was working remotely from home in Las Vegas, allegedly neglected routine safety projects and procedures.

The state alleges that the manager, Lee Mueller, focused on holding a music festival at the dam, turning the dam into a Marina/RV park, and trying to create a residential neighborhood instead.

According to Nessel’s office, when the chief operator asked Mueller to fix the dam’s safety issues, he replied by saying: “I’m not in the hydro business . . . I’m in the money-making business.” 

“The Edenville Dam failure was a devastating tragedy for thousands in that community, and these new revelations clearly show that failure began at the very top of Boyce Hydro,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement. “We discovered an unconscionable disregard for safety and dam integrity that cost the community that relied on the security of that dam immeasurably, and it’s important we share this with the court today.” 

During the ensuing legal hearings, a federal court judge said they were “astonished’ at Mueller’s conduct, and that he was acting in “bad faith.”

Mueller was sanctioned in February for his misconduct.