Kasich Commits ODNR To Replacing Buckeye Lake Dam


Governor John Kasich met with state and local officials on Thursday about central Ohio's Buckeye Lake after a report warned of potential catastrophic failure of its dam.

The governor says the dam should be replaced. Kasich says it is inconceivable to him to drain Buckeye Lake.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will immediately begin the necessary permitting and design work for a dam replacement, according to the Kasich administration.

“The Corps report clearly tells us that we have reached a point in time at which lives are in jeopardy, and our priority must be protecting those people in harm’s way,” said Kasich. “Buckeye Lake will remain a special place for many Ohioans, and our intention is to save the lake and preserve this unique community.” 

It has been weakened by several hundred homes built into it over time, along with docks, trees and utility lines. The report says a dam failure could endanger 3,000 people in the area roughly 30 miles east of Columbus.
Officials must decide whether to build a new dam or drain or adjust the popular recreational reservoir. To reduce risk, they've kept the water at lower winter levels rather than letting it fill up.

Kasich says he supports building a new dam, but the project could cost more than $125 million.

Locals say continuing to keep the water level low would sink summer tourism and be devastating for the area's marinas, restaurants and small businesses.

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