Plainwell Dam Emergency Response

Plainwell, Michigan

While performing cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls along a portion of the Kalamazoo River, our team observed erosion at the Plainwell Dam and acted quickly to prevent further damage and catastrophic flooding to the area.

Continuous rain caused water levels of the Kalamazoo and St. Joseph rivers to rise above flood stage in Plainwell, Michigan, raising concern about a potential breach at the community’s Plainwell Dam. Concerns were heightened when our crew, who was actively performing work at the site, observed erosion along a portion of the dam. The flooding had caused logs and debris to get trapped in front of the water control structure, exacerbating flood conditions.

An emergency-management plan was put in place to avert a potential breach, and our team took immediate action to protect the dam. In addition to removing the logs and debris to alleviate pressure, our team placed boulders and mesh baskets filled with rocks next to the eroded areas to brace the structure. The project was further complicated by the continued rain, which caused major erosion and flooding of the staging area. To protect the staging area, our crews built five-foot berms and a gabion buttress to reduce the erosion of the area.

The crew worked tirelessly during this event without incident or injury and was later acknowledged by the community for saving the Plainwell Dam and preventing catastrophic flooding in the area.

Service Line

  • Disaster Response and Recovery

Services Provided

  • Dam/Levee Construction and Rehabilitation
  • Stormwater, Erosion Control, and Underseepage Improvements
  • Vegetation and Debris Management
  • Clearing and Grubbing
  • Debris Transportation and Disposal
  • Critical Infrastructure Remediation and Repair

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