Officials investigate cause of leaks in Ohio dam

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) — Leaks found at a dam have led the state to ask boat owners to remove their boats from Lake White while inspectors check for the cause.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said on its website Sunday that the lake water level had been lowered nearly 3 feet below summer pool after unusual levels of seepage were found in a routine inspection of the Lake White dam spillway.

"They had an employee notice the water coming outside of the spillway and reported it to our dam safety staff," Andy Ware, deputy director for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, told the Chillicothe Gazette.

Initially, about a foot and a half of water was drained from the 337-acre lake at Lake White State Park in Waverly, but that had been increased to nearly 3 feet as of Sunday.

Draining water from the lake allows inspectors to get a better look at any damage and determine what needs to be done, department spokeswoman Bethany McCorkle said Sunday.

She said the spillway gates were opened to lower the lake level and pumper trucks can be used if officials decide the water needs to be lowered even more. McCorkle said the dam appeared stable and officials would continue to monitor the situation.

The website noted that the lake had been lowered out of "an abundance of caution."

Ohio was using the engineering firm Stantec to help assess and monitor the situation.

The water was closed to recreational activity while inspectors continue their assessment, but the rest of the park in Pike County remained open during regular hours.

Ware said the state agency will continue working with the community to keep it informed of developments and provide updates on the agency's website.