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Briggs Mill dam in Paw Paw breached due to heavy rainfall

A portion of the dam at Briggs Mill -- which is considered to have significant hazard potential -- has been breached, according to the Village of Paw Paw. (Credit: Matt Loughrin - WWMT)

A portion of the dam at Briggs Mill -- which is considered to have significant hazard potential -- has been breached, according to the Village of Paw Paw.

Around 5 a.m. Sunday morning, crews were called in to open the additional spillway and secure the scene. The pedestrian bridge going over the dam was immediately closed.

The village said the dam is observed twice daily and the height of the water level is recorded once every day. Due to the rainfall Saturday, the dam was observed periodically throughout the day in addition to the regular inspections.

The dam was last checked around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and the village said there were no signs of any risk to the dam.

Paw Paw officials said crews will continue to carefully monitor the Michigan Avenue bridge and Power Plant Dam.

The village does not believe any properties or residents are at risk and will be immediately alerted should any risk be observed in the future.

“We've got about a 20-foot section that had fractured, that will have to be repaired in the future,” Roman Plaszczak, president of the Village of Paw Paw, said. “Hopefully soon in the future, but I'm not aware of any other property damage that occurred, and there are no injuries that I'm aware of that occurred.”

Dam safety and inspection engineers will be evaluating the dam and making recommendations for ensuring the future stability and safety of the dam.

The Briggs Mill dam flows into Maple Lake in Paw Paw which eventually connects to the Paw Paw River.

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