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Lake White Dam

Location and Description

Click above image to play video overview of project.

Lake White Dam, built in 1935, is part of Lake White State Park located near Waverly in Pike County. It measures 4,200 feet long and carries a portion of Ohio Route 104, which includes a short bridge span passing across the top of the spillway structure. Most of the lake bed and land surrounding the lake is privately-owned.

The dam has a principal spillway consisting of a concrete weir with tainter gates. The lake surface area at the spillway during full pool is approximately 400 acres. Total drainage area to the lake is 35 square miles. Significant precipitation events within the drainage area can cause rapid and significant increases in the lake level. The spillway discharges water beneath the Ohio Route 104 bridge span into Crooked Creek, which flows into the nearby Scioto River just south of Waverly. As a Class I high-hazard potential structure, a sudden failure of Lake White Dam likely would result in the structural collapse of at least one residence or other structure and probable loss of human life. (Hazard ratings refer to the consequences of dam failure, not the dam’s condition.)


Click here for more about the Dam Risk Reduction Program.

Risk Reduction Construction Photos as of 4/4/2017

Risk Reduction Construction Photos as of 2/22/2017)

Risk Reduction Construction Photos as of 7/14/2016

Lake White Dam: Statistics

  • Maximum Embankment Height: 39 feet
  • Length of Dam: 4,200 feet
  • Crest Width: 40 foot
  • Reservoir Surface Area At Top Of Dam: 460 acres
  • Storage Capacity at Principal Spillway Elevation: 6,015-acre feet = 1.9 billion gallons
  • Principal Spillway Type: concrete weir with tainter gates
  • Emergency Spillway: None
  • Principal Spillway Crest Elevation: 573.7 feet
  • Reservoir Surface Area at Principal Spillway: 400 acres
  • Lake Drains: 36-inch diameter concrete pipe
  • Dam Classification: Class I
  • Lake Constructed: 1935
  • Lake Inflow: Pee Pee Creek
  • Total Drainage Area To Lake: 35 square miles
  • Lake Outflow: Crooked Creek
  • Counties: Pike
  • Communities: Waverly, Lakeview Heights, Piketon

Safety Issues

Lake White Dam currently has deficiencies that must be addressed to bring the structure into compliance with dam safety standards and to ensure public safety. These deficiencies are documented in recent engineering investigations and Ohio Dam Safety Program inspections. Some examples of these deficiencies and other complicating factors include:

  • Seepage and instability concerns at the concrete spillway and along the dam.
  • Insufficient storage and discharge capacity.
  • Inoperable lake drain.


Risk Reduction

In late summer, 2014 significant seepage was detected below the Lake White Dam adjacent to a spillway wall prompting an emergency response and interim risk reduction measures by ODNR. Included in these measures was a lowering of the lake level to approximately 11 feet below winter pool – a level that since has been maintained until permanent repairs can be made. The lowered lake level is a standard risk reduction measure that reduces the likelihood of seepage under the spillway and dam. Plans to repair the dam have been in process for several years. The seepage beneath the spillway wall is a new problem that developed and will be remediated as part of the overall risk reduction project.

Long Term Plan

Routine inspections and maintenance of the dam will continue. An emergency action plan will be revised and shared with local emergency management officials one it is completed.


Additional project plans for this work may be found in this Ohio Dept. of Transportation Project PDF.

Park information may be found on the Lake White State Park web page.


News Releases

All Engineering Division News Releases

Supporting Documents

Media Coverage

To request more information you may write to:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Dam Risk Reduction Project
2045 Morse Road, Building E-3
Columbus, Ohio 43229

or send an email communication to