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Project Updates

Lake White: Water Loss and Filter Berm Construction

Posted on 5/9/2018 by Engineering in Lake White Dam
Water Loss and Filter Berm Construction

The water level at Lake White reached summer pool in late April 2017 following completion of the dam safety improvements begun in Fall 2015. With the lake at summer pool, an unidentified source of water movement, combined with evaporation, caused a significant decline in water levels. ODNR immediately began to investigate this water movement while monitoring the integrity of the dam.

Out of an abundance caution, and to allow for a safety inspection of the dam, ODNR lowered the lake level to winter pool in late June of last year and requested the removal of boats from the lake. ODNR engineers continued to investigate the cause of the water loss.

In September, the project team determined that additional improvements were needed. These improvements included the placement of an aggregate filter berm at the toe of the dam to prevent development of erosion channels beneath the earthen embankment. This work required acquiring permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), as well as property acquisition and wetland mitigation planning.

Mobilization for the filter berm began late last year and construction began in January 2018. While heavy rains and warm weather delayed construction, the main filter berm at the toe of the dam was completed last month. In addition to the filter berm work ODNR understands it needs to better understand the water loss happening at Lake White and so is pursuing outside experts to study and evaluate the issue.

Return to Summer Pool Planned

As berm construction was wrapping up, ODNR began working with the contractor to develop a water control plan to guide its actions in returning to summer pool. After consultation with engineers, a water control plan was adopted that will allow the water to rise to summer pool in increments and with a period for monitoring and observation at various levels. Daily inspections will be conducted to start the observation period.

Also, keep in mind that Lake White can fill quickly given significant rain in the watershed and that a lack of rain can negatively impact water levels. Water levels will be managed in a manner that takes predicted heavy rainfall and other factors into account.

Go to ODNR Lake White dam risk reduction project page

Go to ODOT Lake White project page

Go to Lake White State Park page.