12:30 PM - 01:30 PM
18 September 2020

May 2020 Edenville and Sanford Dam Failures

The Edenville and Sanford Dams failed on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, after two days of heavy rainfall, and resulted in the evacuation of over 10,000 local residents in mid‐Michigan during the COVID‐19 pandemic. The slope instability that led to the breach of Edenville Dam released Wixom Lake, which overtopped and failed Sanford Dam about 10 miles downstream and resulted in the river cresting about 35+ feet (10.7 m) above flood stage. The Embankments, Dams, and Slopes Committee of the Geo-Institute mobilized reconnaissance teams between June 1-10, 2020, to obtain perishable data and investigate the stability of Edenville Dam. The panelists will discuss their findings related to the construction , operation, and failure of Edenville Dam based on their remote sensing data, field, laboratory, and geologic testing, geophysical measurements, and video interpretations.


  • Timothy Stark, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


  • Daniel Pradel, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, Ohio State University
  • Alan Esser, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME)
  • Dimitrios Zekkos, P.E., M.ASCE, University of California at Berkeley
  • Marin Clark, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • Thomas Oommen, Ph.D., M.ASCE, Michigan Technological University