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Mayville leaders hoping for state, federal aid for damaged dam repair

On Monday, May 9, water started running around the south side of the dam, eroding the bank into a nearby yard. With water now contained, Mayor Steve Benson is waiting for news on state and federal funding before the city can decide how to move forward with the damaged structure.

Mayville Dam.jpg
Crews work to stop erosion on the south bank of the Mayville Dam on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
Contributed / Steve Benson
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MAYVILLE, N.D. — The Goose River is back on track after it breached a dam in Mayville, North Dakota.

On Monday, May 9, water started running around the south side of the dam, eroding the bank into a nearby yard. With water now contained, Mayor Steve Benson is waiting for news on state and federal funding before the city can decide how to move forward with the damaged structure.

The Mayville City Council held an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon to declare a city emergency. By 8 p.m. on Monday, a team of engineers and contractors were working to contain the Goose River at the dam.

First, they tried taking a cap off the dam to allow more water to come through, which was partially successful, Benson said. Then, they focused on stopping erosion on the south bank. On Monday evening and Tuesday, contractors from Fargo placed 2,000 tons of rock in the river to build out the dam and create a makeshift sidewall to keep water from further eroding the south bank of the river.

Benson said the dam was built for recreational purposes in the 1930s, and the city had never had a problem with erosion at the dam in the past.

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“The boy was built solid,” Benson said. “But the problem is if your side walls weaken, and have all this pressure we’ve had lately from the rain runoff, that can do a lot of damage.”

The Mayville City Council will decide whether to repair, rebuild or take out the dam, but Benson does not expect a decision anytime soon. That decision will largely depend on if the city can receive outside funding to aid in rebuilding the dam. Replacing infrastructure like dams and bridges can cost millions of dollars, Benson says, so city leaders are hoping for state or federal disaster funding to be approved for flood damage on the eastern side of North Dakota.

“It’s obviously something the city can’t do on its own,” Benson said. “So if there’s federal participation and state participation is something we could look at.”

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The Rainy River watershed is overflowing from Lake Vermilion to Lake of the Woods, with flood records possible.

Related Topics: MAYVILLEFLOODING
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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