Located along the Flint River in the heart of downtown Flint, Michigan (near the University of Michigan-Flint campus, upstream of Harrison and Saginaw Streets), the Hamilton Dam has a long history of service to the City of Flint. In its early days, after it was constructed in 1920, it facilitated milling operations for the region’s logging industry and served as a water source for local industries. Throughout its entire life, the dam has helped regulate the flow of water in the Flint River. In the 1960s the dam served as the upstream anchor point for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Flood Control Project.

Repairs to the dam were made in 1964 and again in the early 1990s to repair structural deficiencies in the concrete structure and the floodgates. As a result of continued deterioration and operational issues, this dam is currently classified as a High Hazard Critical Dam. Any action taken to address problems with the dam must accommodate a number of readily apparent operational constraints. Currently, the dam regulates downstream flow of the River to maintain the minimum flows required for compliance with discharge of treated wastewater from the City’s treatment facility. It also maintains an upstream impoundment depth sufficient to allow operation of the City’s water treatment plant. Finally, the impoundment likely provides sufficient back pressure against potentially contaminated groundwater, thus preventing or at least minimizing flow of these contaminants down the river.

In late 2009, the City of Flint engaged a team of consultants to build upon past studies in order to develop a preliminary design for modifications to the Hamilton Dam as well as preliminary design for restoration of the downstream river corridor through the Chevy in the Hole project area.

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