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Ypsilanti Peninsular Paper Dam removal project awarded $1.6 million grant

The Peninsular Dam
Doug Coombe
Concentrate Media
The Peninsular Dam

The Ypsilanti Peninsular Paper Dam removal project has been awarded a $1.6 million grant through the Michigan Environment, Great Lakes and Energy agency’s Dam Risk Reduction Program.

The grant program aims to prevent potential dam failures by funding maintenance or, in this case, removal projects.

Efforts to remove the Peninsular Dam have been ongoing since 2019, when the Ypsilanti City Council approved the removal project.

Mason Manuszak is an environmental engineer with EGLE.

“We also want to make sure we’re making strong relationships with private and local dam operators and provide the resources as needed. And, above all, we’re really just hoping to protect environmental and human health affected by aging dam infrastructure.”

Manuszak says the dam’s “high hazard” classification made the removal project a clear candidate for the grant program.

“With it being a high hazard dam, it means that there's a probability for loss of life if it were to fail. And with it being in poor condition as of the latest inspection report, obviously, this is going to pose a risk to the residents of Ypsilanti and the surrounding areas downstream of the dam.”

The EGLE grant brings the total funding for the project to about $7 million. Those with the Huron River Watershed Council estimate they’ll need another $3 million to fully fund the removal project.

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Taylor Bowie joined WEMU as a reporter in October 2023.
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