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Tittabawassee River Floods

bulletGet real-time Tittabawassee River level data from the USGS, click here
bulletSee historical peak flows of the Tittabawassee River, click here

In the spring, the Tittabawassee River often floods at various locations along it's banks due to snow melt and/or rain.  In the fall of 1986 an extraordinary amount of rain fell in a short period of time (up to 14 inches in 12 hours).  The resulting flood was on a scale that statistically would occur once every 100-500 years.  The 2004 spring floods were closer to the norm, however; there were more of them (4) and more extensive than the "average" spring flood.  In all of these floods, river sediment and surrounding flood plain soils are swept up and redeposited.   Dioxin binds to soil particles and travels wherever the soil goes.

Saginaw News 3/11/04: Flood-borne sediment includes dioxin

2004_0328_143811AA.JPG (58012 bytes)

Above: T.River bank photo 3/28/04.  The layer of sand is a new deposit left after the 2004 flood                        

bulletClick here for images of 1986 fall flood (or just scroll down)
bulletClick here for images of 2004 spring flood (taken near peak and after water receded)
bulletClick here for images of 2004 spring flood damage to Imerman Park.
bulletClick here for images of 2006 spring flood 
bulletClick here for images of 2007 spring flood
bulletClick here for images of 2013 spring flood 

Above: April 2011; Tittabawassee floods West Michigan Park that was remediated by EPA in 2009; Good place for a playground?

MDCH Warning:, people should take precautions when entering the flood plain: "There are some common sense steps you can take to limit your exposure to the dioxins found in the flood plain. If you have been playing or working in soil that could be contaminated, wash your skin to remove any dirt. Thorough hand washing is especially important before eating. Children playing outside should be prevented from putting toys or other dirty objects in their mouths. Clean fill dirt can be added over contaminated dirt in gardens, on lawns, and in play areas if dioxin contamination is known or suspected. However, if the area is flooded after clean fill is added, the surface soil could be re-contaminated. Care should be taken not to disturb the layer of clean soil covering the contaminated soil. Because they may be especially sensitive to dioxins, children should not play in soil or sediment that is known to contain elevated levels of dioxins. "

MDEQ graph of Tittabawassee River Flooding 1960- 1999

Click here to view graph of flood history.  Numbers on left are CFS - Cubic feet per second of flow.  Graph presented at 12/3/03 CAP meeting.

1986 Flood

The Bay City Times, in retrospect, summed up "The Flood"  of 1986 well by telling their readers to just scan the "D" listings in the dictionary,"its all there, Downpours, Drenching, Devastation and Disaster"!

In the fall of 1986, the Tittabawassee River as well as many other rivers in the state experienced what some call a "100 year flood'.  During this storm, the Dow Chemicals waste treatment plant was overwhelmed  and it's contents flushed into the Tittabawassee River and backyards of everyone down stream.

Click here for a summary of the 1986 fall flood .

Images of the 1986 Flood

Below are a number of photographs of the aftermath in the Freeland area.  A few include current views of same area in 2003 for reference.  Be patient, a lot of photo's are loading....

1986 boat in the backyard Vs same view spring 2003

86fld_boat.jpg (159214 bytes)1986
2003_0423_boat.JPG (57815 bytes)2003

Backyard 1986 Vs same area in spring 2003

86fld_by1.jpg (159067 bytes)1986
2003_0423_by.JPG (57729 bytes)2003

Imerman Park by entrance, notice roof of pavilion.
The park stretches back another 3/4 of a mile to the river.

86fld_immerman1.jpg (100497 bytes)1986

Waterfront property? 1986 vs 2003
Root cellar in side of hill.  Red stick marks high water mark,
Estimate 20 feet deep.  From here it's over 500 feet back to
the normal river bank.

86fld_rs1.jpg (171086 bytes)1986
2003_0423_rs1.JPG (60414 bytes)2003
86fld_rs2.jpg (212666 bytes)1986
2003_0423_rs2.JPG (127156 bytes)2003
86fld_rs3.jpg (140484 bytes)1986

Tittabawassee Road Bridge.  Closed for ~ week.

86fld_bridge.jpg (104080 bytes)1986

View to west of Freeland Road towards bridge.

86fld_rd1.jpg (117002 bytes)1986


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