November 27, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
30°F

Bill looks to increase dam safety

Part of what makes Medina County beautiful is its natural landscape — the wooded areas, lakes and creeks. But 15 dams in the county are ranked high risk by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“It doesn’t mean the structure is unsafe or dangerous, just that there would be a high impact if there was a failure,” ODNR spokesman Mark Bruce said.

Lake Medina, off Route 18 was constructed in the 1960's as a way for the city of Medina to supplement it's water supply. The lake was constructed with a large earthen levy. Until 2002, the city used large pumps to add and take water from the lake. The Lake Medina dam is registered as a category I dam with the Ohio Department of Natural Resrouces, meaning it's failure could mean loss of life and significant property damage. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, said providing federal money for dam safety programs should be part of water management legislation Congress is considering.

By a bipartisan vote of 83-14 last week, the Senate passed the Water Resources and Development Act. It’s now up to House leaders to draft their own version before the bill is sent to a conference committee for a final draft.

The Senate version includes funding for dredging and maintaining Lake Erie harbors and reauthorizing the national dam safety program — a key provision for any water development bill, Brown said.

“Right now, our aging water infrastructure includes hundreds of hazardous dams,” he said. “Far too many don’t have an EAP (emergency action plan).”

Dam owners are required to keep an emergency action plan on file with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, but keeping that plan up to date can be difficult, Bruce said. The state agency is in the middle of overhauling out-of-date dam information and making sure all state standards regarding dams are in place.

“We have to inspect every dam once every five years,” Bruce said. “We’re in the middle of that right now and we have to verify every EAP (emergency action plan).”

A state map shows 15 dams in Medina as “high risk” or Category I. Dams are classified Category I when failure could result in a loss of life. An additional 19 dams are Category II, meaning a failure could result in significant property damage.

Bruce said the department has EAP information on about two-thirds of the dams in Ohio but some of the smaller dams, including those labeled Category IV, aren’t subject to many state regulations.

Of those dams for which the agency has information, some are not yet up to date because the EAP on file with the state may not take into account new construction in the area.

“The idea of EAPs is not new, but the work to get them updated and keep them updated is more recent,” he said.

In the next year or so, Bruce said he expects to see local meetings in counties to help dam owners get their paperwork up to date.

“We can explain these are the rules and regulations and this is what you need to do to comply with Ohio law,” he said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

 

 

The following dams in Medina County are considered high or significant risk:

Dam, Township, Stream

Category I
Hinckley Lake dam, Hinckley, East branch; Rocky River
Lake Brunswick dam, Brunswick, Plum Creek
Rustic Hills Lake dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Lake Medina dam, Medina, W. branch of Rocky River – offstream
Ridgewood Lake dam, Sharon, Yellow Creek
Brye Lake dam, Wadsworth, Tributary to Holmes Brook
Blue Heron Lake No. 1 dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch Rocky River
Chippewa Creek Structure VII-C, Guilford, River Styx
Chippewa Creek Structure III-A, Guilford, Hubbard Creek
Salerno Lake dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Siedel Lake dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Ravens Wood Lake dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Blue Heron Lake No. 5 dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Seven Springs Lake dam, Montville, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Chippewa Creek Structure VIII-D, Wadsworth, Holmes Brook

Category II
Willow Lake dam, Brunswick Hills, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Forest Meadows Lake dam, Medina, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
RPM Lake dam, Brunswick, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Moll Lake dam, Liverpool, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Pine Hill Golf Club Lake No. 3 dam, Hinckley, Tributary to Healey Creek
Veverka Lake dam, Hinckley, Tributary to Granger Ditch
Pischieri Pond dam, Hinckley, Tributary to E. branch of Rocky River
Weymouth Valley Lake No. 1 dam, Medina, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Forest Meadows Lake Park dam, Medina, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Gallery Lake dam, Liverpool, Tributary to Plum Creek
Carol-Jane Lake dam, Medina, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Forest Meadows Lake dam, Medina, Tributary to W. branch of Rocky River
Granger Lake dam, Granger, Tributary to Yellow Creek
Terraco Lake dam, Granger, Tributary to Granger Ditch
Malek Lake dam, York, Tributary to Mallet Creek
Chippewa Creek Structure IV-A, Guilford, Tributary to Chippewa Creek
Letha House Lake dam, Chatham, unnamed tributary
Chippewa Creek Structure II-A, Lafayette, Buck Creek
Osage Lake dam, Sharon, Tributary to River Styx
Wadsworth Sludge Lagoon, Wadsworth, unknown
Imars Lake dam, York, Tributary to Mallet Creek