Since 2010, SMC has provided inspection, maintenance, repair, and emergency repair services on a dam – a structure that has been classified as a high hazard dam by MDE. Designed to convey the 100% probable maximum frequency (PMF) storm event, the lake discharges through a 45’x11’ concrete drop spillway, or riser, and twin 10’ x 8’ concrete box culverts.

On November 26, 2019, the Property Owners Association (POA) notified SMC that they were unable to close the sluice gate the day prior and the lake level was dropping nearly a foot per day. SMC conducted an emergency inspection the same day and estimated the gate was stuck open 5 inches, allowing 13 cfs (6,000 gpm) to flow through the gate. SMC and a team of divers returned on December 2, 2019 for an underwater inspection and concluded the stem for the sluice gate was severely bent, preventing the gate from fully closing. On December 5, 2019, SMC and the diving team were able to close the gate by bracing the stem. A subsequent inspection concluded debris was drawn into the sluice gate box by suction forces. The combined effort of tightening the sluice gate and the presence of debris resulted in a contorted stem, preventing the gate from fully closing.

Through a highly coordinated effort with our engineers and divers, SMC was able to stop the leak. This saved thousands of aquatic lives, protected a precious amenity for the POA, and avoided potential significant monetary fees associated with repairs and lawsuits. Having a registered, qualified dam engineer on call for dam owners is highly recommended by MDE, and can mitigate emergency situations.