The findings of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on Buckeye Lake dam are serious.
The report states “the likelihood of a catastrophic failure of the dam at normal pool level and above is high,” and the failure of the dam would probably result in “loss of life.”
Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesman John Wisse said the department expects to have decisions on short-term and long-term plans within two weeks.
“Immediate action has to be taken to protect the lives of more than 3,000 men, women and children who could potentially be impacted, along with their homes and property, should the dam fail,” Wisse said. “This is a very serious situation.”
Wisse said, for now, the dam’s spillway will remain open to keep water levels at winter levels. He added water levels have risen all week but remain “normal for this date.”
The Corps of Engineers found the dam’s structural integrity has been “significantly weakened” by homes and other buildings constructed on the dam. According to the report, more than 370 structures have been built on the 4.1 mile dam. Also, the report found digging away parts of the dam for pools, drainage and infrastructure also destabilized it.
The findings stated the safest solution for eliminating flood risk is to “drain the lake permanently.” It also recommended replacing the dam.