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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assess dam

COLUMBUS – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reached an agreement last April with ODNR to assess the current current of 4.1 mile earthern Buckeye Lake dam.

ODNR announced the fourday inspection that is set for August 25-28 in an August 13 open letter to Buckeye Lake dam stakeholders. The letter asks dam residents to stake or otherwise flag areas that they would like the dam inspection team to check out. The visual inspection will cover the entire length of the dam.

The assessment will also include a thorough review of the existing data and analysis of the dam’s condition. Residents and businesses located on and below the dam will have an opportunity to share a information they have about the dam’s condition including photos and other observations.

The assessment agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlines that the Corps will give ODNR recommendations for future operation, inspections and maintenance. The report is to include any necessary risk reduction steps and remediation.

The final assessment report will be done by early 2015 and will be available for public review and comment.

The open letter, signed by ODNR Director James Zehringer, acknowledges that “there are a number of unresolved issues regarding this dam (the future disposition of private docks, for example). We will make time to seek residents’ input and work through these issues with the community in an open and transparent process before any final decision are made.”

Details about when and how that public input will occur will be provide at “a later date.”

The letter says the Buckeye Lake dam is designated as a Class 1 high-hazard -potential dam. That classification is based on the impact on lives and property that would occur should there be a catastrophic failure of the dam. It does not describe the dam’s current condition.

Zehringer writes that the dam needs improvement for it to meet state dam safety standards. The specific improvements are to be determined. He lists as examples of the dam’s deficiencies “excessive long-term seepage through and deterioration of the earthen embankment, multiple excavations in the downstream slope and the inability of safety inspectors o examine areas of the dam hidden by structures.”

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