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Dam failure leading to low water levels

By Mary Drier
Staff Writer

CARO — It’s a dam problem.

The Tuscola County Advertiser has received several telephone calls over the last few months about the low water level of the Cass River, and the issue was brought up at the last Tuscola County Commissioners’ meeting.

According to county Controller Mike Hoagland, the county has gotten calls from residents who are concerned about the low level of the river that can be seen from M-24.

“Looking at the river you will be shocked. Banks on both sides of river are exposed!” said Hoagland. “The problem is because one of the gates on the dam failed.”

The dam is privately owned. One of the control gates on the 109-year old dam failed mid April, the water level has gone down greatly because of that.

Initially, it was reported the dam’s owner planned to fix it, but now there are reports that it won’t be fixed. The Tuscola County Drain Commission office was called about the matter, but it’s not a drain issue.

“It’s a matter for water resources for the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality),” said Hoagland. “People along the river are losing a lot of water(front) acres.”

Launching a boat at Chippewa Landing south of Caro could be difficult as well as boating on the river.

Besides low water conditions, odor has been a problem on and off also, and there has been a lot of finger pointing of what is the culprit. DEQ officials responded to odor complaints, did testing, and reported they believe the issue is Michigan Sugar Factory ponds, said Tuscola County Emergency Services Director Steve Anderson.

The owner of the dam could not be reached for comment.

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